Monday, 6 June 2011
Dego: Go for the food,stay for the wine
Hearty Italian cuisine is so ubiquitous in London that I’m not sure we really know what it is anymore. And at some points during my meal I think Dego has become confused too.
The modren Italian defies all expectations. Not one aspect of the night failed to surprise me in some way or other. It is laid out more like a chic American diner than a traditional Italian. Customers are seated in rectangular booths with red and black leather, below lamps that pick you out like a soloist in concert.
It is determinedly modern, proven by the square toilet bowls and lack of zeros at the end of the wine prices. After a refreshing gin aperitif we ordered glasses of Verdiccio Castelli, which costs precisely £22.5 per bottle. Its complicated texture saved my overly salty beef roulade starter, which needed more dressing to balance it.
For my main I ordered what turned out to be a duck bolognese. I had expected something a little more subtle, and the menu needs to be more precise. But fortunately I was delighted by the hearty flavours that complemented the meat, which was lighter than duck has any right to be. However, the wine chosen by our helpful sommelier – a gewürztraminer from the Alto-Adige region of Italy – stole the show. Alto-Adige is a German-speaking region of northern Italy, which may explain the heavy, hop-like aroma and finish of the wine that matched beautifully with the duck mince.
I had to wait for the pudding for the food to amaze me. Again, the misleading menu undersold my chocolate, ginger and meringue desert. It was actually a pyramid of set chocolate filled with gooey meringue and caramel bathing in a shockingly spiced ginger sauce that was unique and delicious.
This could not save me from being slightly underwhelmed with the food, even if the prices were reasonable for the portion sizes and quality of ingredients. But the menu has enough on it to make every visit different, and there are sure to be more treasures in there. You should go for the food, but you’ll probably go back for the wine.
0207 636 2207
4 Great Portland street
London W1W 8QJ