In a part of London where there’s not a whole lot going on cuisinewise, Roma is a nice breathe of fresh air.CREDIT: Supplied
Situated right next to Fenchurch Street Station, past a Pizza Express and The Windsor Pub, Roma brings a unique and very elegant dining experience to a part of London that desperately needs it. If you walk quickly past the ugly station and try not to inhale any of the train fumes, Roma, located down a flight of stairs from the square is the elegant Roma and it’s an absolute find. A bar with ample tables for drinks, and beautifully situated tables alongside the large windows – tables that seat two, four, six, and perhaps more, with large windows that gives the restaurant its Italian style.
Roma claims that it brings 2000-year-old flavours and passions of ancient Rome to its rich menu full of Roman-inspired dishes. Well, no one I know was around 2000 years ago so we will have to take their word for it! Luckily the menu is not overwhelming – it’s simple yet and uncomplicated. Recommended as a beginning dish while you relax and read the menu are the requisite olives, bread and dips, a selection of crudités as well as bruschetta – all priced below £8.00. There are eight small plates to choose from, all very simple and knowing. Oxtail Soup, Mussels and Clams, Cod Loin Fish Cake, Hay smoked mackerel fillet, Hare & pistachio terrine, all excellently priced at below £9.00. The Mediterranean lentil salad served with ricotta salata, with lite vinegarette sauce, was absolutely wonderful – a snip at £7.00. The Salumi dish of cured meats & antipasti, priced at £15.00, was worth every pound because of its large size and excellent presentation of an array of meats served with bread and olives. In fact, this is a chance for Roma to present its own charcuterie – which is in their kitchen – so you know you’re getting fresh meat.CREDIT: Supplied
Roma offers Large Plates and plates cooked in Hay. First off, the large plates include Mussels & Clams, Tiger prawns, Wild mushroom gnocchi, Honey & Mustard pork, and 16th-century cotechino (an Italian charcuterie dish). You might ask, what is hay? This is where Roma bakes it’s meat on hay – which is how the ancients Romans cooked. So the hay menu included the Crispy pork belly, accompanied by Borlotti beans, ham & tomato casserole. It was a bit disappointing for its £19.00 price as the pork was not that big, and it was awfully hard to chew, served with a small portion of the casserole. Luckily I ordered the Gnocchi to accompany it, but it was basic, scattered in butter and basil. The Vine wrapped tuna, leeks & olives dish, with Risotto Bianco, was the piece de resistance. Two pieces of tuna, covered in a vine leaf, with a massive portion of risotto, was very nice, and the risotto and tuna complemented each other. At £22.00, it was worth the money. Other ‘cooked in hay’ dishes on offer include slow cooked leg of lamb for 2 (I will have this next time), lamb rump, and half roasted chicken.
This being an Italian restaurant you can bet that the desserts would be perfect, and they were. The Torata del nonna (a pastry shell covered with pine nuts and sugar to the veil that hides a delicious cream filling pasticcera) with pine nuts and peanuts needs to be eaten to be believed. The Apricot and ratafia sweet-beverage cake, coupled with Rose water créme Anglaise, was also heavenly, sweet, and a perfect ending to a filling meal, both at a very sweet price of £6.50.CREDIT: Supplied
There’s a lot of wine on offer at Roma (just like in the days of the Roman empire), and Sarah the wine sommelier will offer you an excellent selection to go with each of your dishes. They were all very excellent and excellently accompanied the dishes we had. The Northern Rome GEWURZTRAMINER, ALOIS LAGEDER, Alto Adige 2015 and the TEMPRANILLO, 6 MESAS EN BARRICA, FINCA LA ESTACADA, Ucles 2015 were perfect with the starters. With the mains, the CABERNET, MERLOT, PUKLAVEC FAMILY HERITAGE, GOMILLA, Macedonia 2015 and the PINOT NOIR, KRAFUSS, ALOIS LAGEDER, Alto Adige 2012 complemented the fool. Roma also offers wines from the South of Rome, France, and Spain & Portugal making their list one of the most comprehensive north of the Roman ruins!
Roma is the perfect place to go if you want to impress your clients, co-workers, loved ones or perhaps even your boss. It’s an elegant nicely tucked away restaurant where the food is impressive, with impeccable service.
Reviewed by: Tim Baros
Telephone: 0207 488 2807
Address: 14 New London Street, London, EC3R 7NA
PRICE: ££££ (explained)
STAR: ✮✮✮ (explained)
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.