Veneta, St James

A new restaurant that just opened in the (also newly opened) St James Market off of Lower Regent’s Street, a member of the Salt Yard group with an Italian twist. As it was a Friday, it was time for a glass of wine as well…

We started with some foccacia and proscuitto – the proscuitto was sliced very thinly and had nice, small ribbons of fat in the ham that gave it flavour without being too fatty.

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The foccacia was delicious, already very full of olive oil and rosemary…. it went really well with the proscuitto.

img_8933After this, we ordered something from the crudo menu… and both veered towards the red Sicilian prawns… Look at that colour of red… mmmm. They were very good, tossed in herbs and lemon, but were unfortunately slightly too seasoned with both salt and pepper.

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Then, the small dish “main” courses started coming… we began with scallops, which were probably my favuorite dish at lunch – served over a pumpkin puree and with shallots, samphire and lemon, the tastes were delicious… but again, a bit over-salted.

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Then came the kid goat ragu with papardelle… we were a bit surprised that they served it with the Parmesan already on the ragu… but it was good. Again, it was slightly over-salted, but the taste of the goat ragu (compared to your typical pork or beef) was a very nice change.

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And then, the cauliflower in romanesco sauce… served with marinated onions and large, juicy raisins in a Riesling vinegar. This was ok…

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And finally, the roast duck, which I also found pretty impressive… slices of roast duck served with pickled pear, charred radicchio, and peverada sauce (looking it up, its a Venetian sauce based on chicken livers, salami, anchovies, herbs and veggie aromatics… and it was great, it had an absolutely amazing taste). The duck as also perfectly roasted… so I was happy!

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So how was it overall? A very nicely decorated restaurant, modern and sleek but with elements of the Italian 30’s… The service was great, with very friendly waiters that were happy to describe all dishes in detail – and the food? Overall, great, with many interesting small dishes… the only downside was the over-salting of about half the dishes we ordered, which was pretty disappointing… hopefully that will stop over time and this place will have very special small dishes!

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