Li Veli Winery and Bistro, on Long Acre in Covent is bringing the simple authentic cuisine of Puglia, the 'heel' of Italy, to London. I was invited in for a review for Love Food Love Drink, and as soon as we arrived we were treated like VIPs. Our reserved table in the window was perfect for people watching, both on the street and inside this modern, spacious and stylish eatery featuring elements of Apulian design.
|Li Veli Winery & Bistro|
Our very charming maitre d', Nicolas, ushered us to our seats and remained attentive but not intrusive for the evening. From the Antipasti menu he recommended the Apulian 'Frisella' Bread and the Fave e Cicora, a broad bean mash with chicory. Not being a huge fan of tomatoes, I tentatively ordered the Frisella, a wholewheat bagel bread covered in organic cherry tomatoes and doused in San Domenico olive oil. It was good, really good. A sizable portion too. Himself went for the red tuna tartare instead of the Fave, and both of us were stuffed after our starters.
|Frisella Bread; Red Tuna Tartare; San Domenico Olive Oil;|
Aubergine Parmagiana; Orcchiette; Pistachio Ice Cream
Most of the wine served in Li Veli is sourced from the owner's own vineyards in Puglia, The Masseria Li Veli. The white wine was light and fresh and extremely drinkable. The red, served with our mains, was earthier and slid down our throats like silk.
|Li Veli wines|
|Li Veli wines|
For mains, we followed Nicolas's advice and plumped for homemade organic orecchiette, little ear-shaped pasta, served with melted anchovies and toasted breadcrumbs. For me, aubergine parmigiana, topped with smoky caciocavallo cheese - delicious.
The menu catered well for vegetarians, with only a few meat dishes, but every was organic, fresh, and simple. This simple yet sophisticated style is typically Italian, and more so Pugliese, taking quality ingredients and serving them in time-honoured traditions.
Dessert was the highlight of the meal. Tiramisu, of course, and an enticingly flavourful pistachio ice cream, drizzled with San Domenico olive oil. This you have to try for yourself. You won't believe it works, but it does.
Join these two families, one culture, and the traditional Apulian taste in Covent Garden. Not your typical pizzeria...
69 Long Acre, WC2E 9JS
020 7240 8163
Pre-Theatre Dinner (5-7pm) 2 Courses £18, 3 Courses £22