The idea of “going out for an Italian” in the capital might involve choosing one of the many top end chains that have popularised a good pasta or seeking out a rustic alternative, purely for its charm. But if you’re after something that fits in the middle – with a much sexier, fine-dining approach – then your next trip into the West End should include a visit to the award-winning Degò Wine Bar & Restaurant. With a name that comes from the words “Degustazione” (tasting) and “Ostaria” (tavern), the year-old Degò is quickly developing a reputation for being a classy and urban hang-out, appealing to those who like their food simple, tasty (and pretty) and their wines nothing short of superior.
There’s a conscise menu of dishes given a creative twist courtesy of head chef Massimo Mioli – so a rich starter like the crema di carote con spiedino di taleggio e pan brioches ai capperi (Carrot veloute and taleggio) borrows from the French and comes with a lightly toasted, caper sweet bread skewer. And rich goats cheese – which is always lovely – is souffléd to perfection and served with fennels and cape gooseberries (soufflé di caprino, finocchi e physalis).
The mains go even further to impress, with the Petto d’anatra glassato ai pepo con patate frangipane e lime (black and red pepper duck breast, served medium rare only), being simply delicious and moist alongside crunchy “frangipane” potatoes and lime. And if you love your fish, the gallinella al pepe verde con verdurine in confit (gurnard with green corn pepper sauce and confit vegetables), is as beautiful as it is tasty, enjoyed with Cos Nero di Lupo – a distinctively light red from Sicily.
The dinner was completed by the coppa alla crema con scaglie di cioccolato e soffice al campari (creamy cup, chocolate shavings, campari sponge which was as good as a tiramisu minus the coffee) and the meringa Fredda Al Caramello E Cioccolato Con Salsa Di Zenzero – a rich chocolate caramel meringue complimented with ginger sauce.
Where price and service is concerned, the stunning food and attentive staff justifies the nearly £80 spend for two – but you’ll find set lunches and dinners are more comfortable on the pockets – and quite worth it – for such classy, contemporary cuisine that sets the bar high.Degò Wine Bar & Restaurant, 4 Great Portland Street London W1W 8QJ, Tube: Oxford Circus Price: (££££) £ Further info: www.degowinebar.co.uk