After a long day shopping at the new Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, followed by 2 hours in the brand new Vue cinema (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is very good by the way), my boyfriend Luke and I decided to treat ourselves to a cocktail in Las Iguanas’ bar.
2 delicious Cana Royale cocktails later (well, it was happy hour), we perused the menus of the various restaurants (all chain I’m afraid) on the top floor of the enormous complex. We finally settled on Strada, an Italian restaurant which never fails to disappoint in terms of value for money.
After eating our fill of garlic bread and olives, to accompany dinner, rather than opting for the cheaper Bianco (£14.95) or Soave, I traded up slightly and chose the Antonini Ceresa from Campania, priced at £16.95 and made from the Falanghina grape of southern and central Italy. Described on the menu as offering flavours of ‘fleshy, sun-drenched white peaches’ ‘with a hint of aromatic spice’, this zingy, enticing white wine held its own with my Salmone con Lenticchie, and with Luke’s Rustica Pizza.
Italy offers some of the best refreshingly crisp white wines (I previously reviewed the delicious 2009 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico), and while Falanghina is a relatively unfamiliar grape, it produces some astounding wines.
If you like Pinot Grigio, you will love this! As wine personality, Olly Smith said in one of his reviews, ‘the truth is, Italy has a myriad of crisp whites beyond Pinot Grigio that offer stacks of character and splendid value for money’ (Daily Mail – 11th August 2011). He recommends the Triade Fiano/Falanghina/Greco 2010, available for £8.99 from Waitrose.