A few weeks ago, Roma London opened its doors to a city of foodies waiting to sample the restaurant’s conceptual fare. The restaurant aims to bring 2000 years’ worth of flavours and passions of Ancient Rome into the heart of the London dining scene. And they couldn’t have found a more suitable site, as the location used to be the very spot where a Roman fort once stood.
Following the trend of merriment during the Roman Empire, Roma’s drinks menu is impressive. Cocktails have an Italian twist and the wine menu is good. Some bottles hail from vineyards from former Roman territories including Italy, France, Macedonia and Spain.
Food here is prepped as inspired by the ancient techniques, with a nod to cooking with hay. The menu boasts of seasonal ingredients sourced locally, and has a selection of small plates, mains and special hay-cooked offering.
We sampled a good number of food at the launch party.
The antipasti selection was all sorts of nom. I had a heapload of the my favourite cut, the bresaola, which was possibly some of the nicest I’ve had in a while.
I enjoyed an assortment of Italian cheeses with a tomato chutney that was pretty strong.
The hay-smoked mackerel served with sorrel and anchovy relish was quite pungent. It had a strong fishy flavour I quite liked.. but I knew I wasn’t kissing anyone that night so all’s well.
I normally don’t go for gnocchi but Roma’s was quite nice. It had a pillowy in texture and the wild mushroom sauce was delicious.
The cod loin fishcake looked really cute. I gave up on the quail egg but the fishcake itself was good.
I may have eaten more than my fair share of the crispy pork belly alla apicius. I’ve had better cooked crispy pork belly but this had a quite nice flavour.
The restaurant’s take on a classic Roman coda alla vaccinara (rich oxtail stew) was nice. I’ve had this in Italy last year and was mindblown; Roma’s version may need a bit more depth to get there but I liked the intent.
After a few rounds of mingling and chit chat, a few of us “accidentally” found ourselves nearer the pass which meant we got to try a few more dishes (haha!).
The tiger prawns “alla busara” were simple but plump and juicy.
My favourite of the night was probably the 16th century cotechino served with a lentil broth. This is a dish that’s usually served during Italian holidays and was borne of a political revolution in Modena during the 1500s. Roma’s offering was hearty – I really liked the sausage and the lentil itself had a nice broth that came with.
Overall I think Roma is a decent addition to the City dining scene. With its spacious banquette settings and wine bar, I’d say it’s nice for corporate dining and also post-work dinner dates. I would like to go back to try some of the dishes in their actual form because they do have intriguing stuff on the menu.
I do hope the restaurant does well – would be great to see it flourish!
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14 New London Street, London, EC3R
We were invited as guests but ave spend pp is £40