Luigi Venosi, stalwart restaurateur, has upped sticks from Soho, to open a brand new self-titled Italian restaurant, Venosi, on Sloane Avenue in the heart of Chelsea.
Front-of-house extraordinaire, Luigi has worked in the restaurant industry for 40 years. Born on the Amalfi Coast, his second home became his central London trattoria, Don Luigi’s, where he played host to famous faces from Frank Sinatra and Mel Brookes to Dolph Lundgren, James Bolan and Franco Zola.
After a well-deserved break, together with his son Gino as head chef, they have opened Venosi - an elegant Italian restaurant oozing with old school charm and hospitality.
His ethos remains the same – simple, quality cooking and ingredients combined with the kind of service that will make you return again and again. Having spent his formative years in his father’s restaurants, Gino cemented his training in Il Cavaliere in Florence and his Aunt’s eaterie in Naples. The result: a seasonal menu which takes a contemporary approach to traditional Italian flavours and combinations.
With everything made in-house from the bread to sausages, special mentions go to salads such seared scallops, fennel and blood orange as well as radicchio, pear and watercress salad to start. Freshly made pasta courses feature a daily changing ravioli; linguine with lobster, tomato and chilli; and hazelnut tagliatelle with wild mushrooms and pancetta. Fabulous fish dishes include line caught sea bream with Jerusalem artichoke pureé and a basil dressing whilst must-try meat choices are hare stew with chestnut pureé and polenta; venison with red wine, dark chocolate and celeriac pureé; and the traditional veal Milanese with spaghetti Napoli.
The integrity of ingredients, many of which come direct from Italy, follow through to desserts which include home-made Parmesan ice cream; white chocolate, vanilla and rosemary pannacotta as well as Amalfi lemon mousse with basil sugar.
Exclusively Italian, the wine list is a treasure trove of regional treats. With over 40 bins under £40 it ranges from a Ca’ Montini, ‘L’Aristocartico’, Cabernet Sauvignon (£23.95) from Umbria all the way to the delights of a Biondi-Santi, Brunello di Mantalcino 2004 (£124.50) from Tuscany. Classic cocktails set to please the Chelsea set include a Negroni, which mixes Campari with gin, Martini rosso and soda and a Dry Martini served with an olive or a twist.
Venosi’s clean lines, exposed brickwork, open kitchen, clever mirrors and vintage photos result in an elegant environment that is as warm as the greeting you receive when you walk through the door.
Proudly Italian, this father and son business combines a passion for food and hospitality with old -school service, proving some things never go out of fashion or fall out of favour. Restaurateurs in it for the long-haul, take note.
Venosi, 87 Sloane Avenue, Chelsea, London SW3 3DX
T: 020 79985019