Cucina Asellina at the ME London hotel has introduced new menu of regional Italian dishes in a warmer, stylish and more relaxed setting.The restaurant takes its name from the legendary Madame Asellina, a prominent citizen of the doomed town of Pompeii, who owned a coffee shop with the words ‘Here dwells happiness’ carved above the door. In line with this mantra, Cucina Asellina has been redecorated with a palette of deep aubergine and calming lavender and fitted with further high-level dining tables looking out onto the bustling Aldwych theatres.
Designed by head chef Stefano Lorenzini and chef director Barry Vera, the menu showcases the core elements of regional Italian cuisine; the best ingredients sourced from authentic producers marrying simple and fresh flavours. Enjoy a selection of; Fritti, Tagliere, Pizzette, Le Specialita della Cassa, Paste, Risotti & Zuppe; Contorni, Carne, Pesce and Dolci, all priced under £10.
Signature dishes include: Stuffed Cerignola olives, roasted veal, parmesan, semolina crust (£6); Prosciutto San Daniele, black truffle, fontina, rocket pizzetta (£9); Honey glazed rack of lamb and rosemary potatoes (£9); Lobster with fresh home-made tortelloni, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and martini bianco (£9); Polenta chips with rosemary salt (4); and crystalised ginger panna cotta (£4). For those looking for a lighter option, all pizza bases and home-made pasta are available gluten free on request.
The bar area has been opened up to create a more informal setting with a cluster of new high-level copper-topped tables, bar stools and banquette seating, and offers an extensive, predominately Italian wine list, alongside a selection of cocktails such as the ‘Pompeii’ – gin, moscato, lime juice, elderflower syrup, Chambord and S. German (£11.50) and ‘Signorea Asellina’ – Belvedere, Limoncello, fresh raspberry and lemon juice (£11).
A word from those in the know: all guests at either the bar or restaurant will receive a complimentary shot of Limoncello and cocktail tasters on arrival. Salute!
Cucina Asellina, 336-337 The Strand, London, WC2R 1HA; 020 7395 3445