Italian Restaurants in London are not exactly hard to find…. you can’t flick out your lap napkin without hitting one, but what is few and far between, are the good ones, the experimental ones, the memorable ones.
Canto Corvino… or “song of the raven” to those with an Italian ear, (It is a reference to the road’s former name, Raven’s Row) is the newest place by the owners of Manicomio in Chelsea and St Paul’s.
Lets start with the bar, because you know that is where I always like to start (and finish). We sat in a great booth amidst the brick wall, iron fixtures and the island bar itself which looked great with little old-fashioned tailors drawers all around.
The head barman is none other that Junior Donadi (formerly at The Collection and the The Sanderson Hotel where I have always raved about the cocktails). The list includes the likes of Romeo (Gin, elderflower, lime juice, fresh kiwi, cucumber and apple juice), Giulietta, (Vanilla vodka, passion fruit puree, fresh mint, vanilla sugar and apple juice) but my favourite came in the form of a cocktail made with Strawberry, Vodka and Chilli. It had a bit of a kick to it, but a chilli kick never hurt anyone.
Three Words… Red. Prawn. Arancini. Whilst I feel that this alone should be enough to get you onto their reservation line, I will add that these are Sicilian red prawn, chilli, tomato arancini balls of deliciousness.
With 4 of us there (including my incredibly well dined mother), we had a selection of starters and appetizers (because I like to try everything) and the main contenders in this line up included the Lamb ribs with smoked aubergine & sesame, the Black bream ceviche with tomato, lime & tropea onions (my winner), the Duck tortelli with borlotti beans & sausage and the Pugliese burrata & anchovy toast. As a side note, you might be surprised to hear that I am usually not a fan of Buratta. Why? Sometimes it has a flavour thats a little too “fresh from the cow” for my liking. However, this was insanely good with the anchovy toast breaking up that creamy texture.
For mains, we had the Beef short rib Rossini, foie gras, autumn truffle & leeks (Just yes) which had a really soft/fall apart consistency similar to that of the short-rib that I have had in Perugia, the Hake with Lardo, Castelluccio lentils, tomato & rosemary and I shared the Veal Spiedino (for 2) with Jewish artichokes, pancetta & Marsala. Now. This is not just a skewer, this is something that some might consider a raft of food. The veal was cooked perfectly for my liking. Just as a note, this comes with two very large pieces of liver, which if you like liver, were delicious. That said, it will not be for everyone.
I often find that in the city, it can be difficult to get a busy trendy crowd in for dinner. The bars are always packed with local city workers and at lunch, there are no end of business meetings.
Canto Corvino is just close enough to Shoreditch that it has a fantastic balance of city professionals and trendy foodies to really pack the place out.
The bar is quite loud and vibrant, while the restaurant is low lit and while it still has a buzz, it doesnt distract from the open kitchen as the focus.
While I am an ever loyal fan to Italian food, this has really ticked the boxes across all cuisines and all food loving customer types.
So, if you’re breaking between mergers or have some time before a gallery opening, Canto Corvino is a good shout.
Canto Corvino – 21 Artillery Lane, Spitalfields, London, E1 7HA, UK