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Alba Restaurant (Bar, Restaurant)

Picture of Alba Restaurant in City of London, London

107 Whitecross Street, City of London, London, EC1 8JD
Cuisine: Italian
Tel: 020 7588 1798 | Email to Alba Restaurant | Transport: Barbican | Write review

Alba Restaurant Review

Best for: Work Lunches

Great: Authentic Italian food – not a margherita pizza in sight

This song is dedicated to Alba restaurant's head chef Alessandro Affaitato. Alessandro, you may work in a City of London restaurant - busy at lunchtimes with men in suits, quiet in the evenings when a few Barbican Centre strays come and dine - but never doubt your menu! Never! Ahem: can I have an 'a' note please?

For the first course of dinner Alba restaurant gave to me ...cod gravlax infused with strawberries

Delicious and light and less oily than its more popular cousin, smoked salmon. The res-taurant is quiet for a Friday evening but its location means it’s very much a City affair, busy in the daytime, quiet in the evening. That said, there are a handful of tables occu-pied and all the diners seem to know the staff so Alba must be doing something right.

For the second course of dinner Alba restaurant gave to me ...octopus (eek) and cod gravlax infused with strawberries

Luckily, it’s very finely sliced to create a stonking carpaccio served with chicory and both my friend and I near enough self-clean the plates it’s so good.

For the third course of dinner Alba restaurant gave to me...three vegeta-bles, octopus (eek) and cod gravlax infused with strawberries

Courgette, aubergine and tomato garnish served in layers with Parmesan. I sit back in my comfy red cushioned chair, anticipating what will be next. The restaurant is smart looking, without being fancy: light grey walls, two skylights and tea lights on the table are the sum total of its decoration.

For the fourth course of dinner Alba restaurant gave to me...pan fried chicken livers, three vegetables, octopus (eek) and cod gravlax infused with strawberries

Oh, we're onto the meats now. This is LUSH. Super creamy and rich without being overbearing. If I wasn't afraid of how many more courses Alessandro & Co were going to serve up I might be tempted to ask for more.

For the fifth course of dinner Alba restaurant gave to me... FIVE GOLD RINGS!
Not really but wouldn't that have been fab? OK, start again:

For the fifth course of dinner Alba restaurant gave to me... ri-cotta ravi-oli, pan fried chicken livers, three vegetables, octopus (eek) and cod gravlax in-fused with strawberries

Ostensibly we've moved from starters to pasta, which Italians don't reckon is a main so I'm not sure what stage of the meal we're at now. Still loving all the divine food and vow never to eat in a faux Italian, Pizza Express-inspired restaurant again.

For the sixth course of dinner Alba restaurant gave to me...chestnut pap-perdelle, ri-cotta ravioli...

Recapping the other courses is getting a bit boring so I'm going to stop that now. No wonder kids get bored of singing the whole Twelve Days of Christmas.

For the seventh course of dinner Alba restaurant gave to me...more pasta!?

I like, no love, my food, but I'm starting to develop a twitch every time one of the waiters comes out. I can't take/eat much more.

For the eighth course of dinner Alba restaurant gave to me...belly pork and confit

A rich tangy sauce and crispy outside of the pork. It's beautifully cooked but I don't know how I will eat it all. I need distractions. The waiters here are very good, attentive, telling me about the wine and how it compliments the food – and handsome....

For the ninth course of dinner Alba restaurant gave to me...chicken breast and stuff

A red wine jus, hazelnut pesto and I could smell the plate as the waiter brought it over to us. I'm playing 'Eye of the tiger' in my head. If Rocky can be king of the boxing ring I can eat this food.

For the tenth course of dinner Alba restaurant gave to me... swordfish steak

Again, gorgeous, but my friend and I are nearly defeated. I wish I'd worn tracksuit bot-toms instead of skinny jeans.

For the eleventh course of dinner Alba restaurant gave to me... Bo-tega

That’s fish roe by the way. A look around the restaurant and I realise aside from some friends in the staff we are the only ones left. I guess most people stop after three courses though come to think of it the restaurant was still pretty quiet at the beginning.

For the twelfth course of dinner Alba restaurant gave to me...dessert

Being Alba restaurant, though, this isn't just any dessert. We have basil ice cream, which is my favourite because it is so refreshing, with a spoon of Zablione and a 'trio of desserts': tiramisu, which is made without mascarpone at Alba for a lighter flavour, chocolate ganache with chiacchiere biscuits and strawberry panna cotta.

Unsurprisingly, we don't manage to eat everything but the flavours are beautiful and it's impressive to see that every component of the meal is cooked at the restaurant. We walk slowly back to the tube wondering if we will ever eat again.

Postscript: It's possible to have a fixed 3-course menu for around £20 at Alba, or to choose from the main menu any of the dishes we ate. While it's in a quiet City of Lon-don location and the decor is pretty muted, it's all about the food and it's ideal for a pre or post Barbican centre visit.
...read more

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