Italian restaurant and wine bar Enoteca Super Tuscan soft-launches today in Spitalfields. We caught up with owner Nick Grossi to find out more.You share a name with Grossi wines who are supplying the wines for Enoteca Super Tuscan - but are no relation. How did your partnership with them come about?
I've spent the last 12 months attending various wine fairs and tastings for this project and I met Grossi Wines at the International Wine Fair. I had actually heard of them before that but had not met them. I was impressed by their focus on small producers and their excellent range of Tuscan wines.
And what can you tell us about the wines on offer?
With the exception of the two Champagnes, all our wines are Italian. We have tried to offer a nice mix of well known and lesser known Italian wines that show the diversity of the wines now coming out of Italy. We will look to swap wines in and out over time as we are always coming across new wines.
Who do you have in the kitchen?
The chefs are a husband and wife team who I was introduced to several months ago through a mutual friend. They are from Sicily although been working most recently in Umbria. They share my philosophy on Italian food which is that the key is the quality of the ingredients.
As with the wine, I have spent the last 12 months researching suppliers who can provide quality Italian ingredients. For me, a good Italian meal has well sourced ingredients simply cooked with minimum fuss and maximum flavour. If you take the humble tomato for example - a vital ingredient in so many Italian dishes - I found that when I ate a pasta dish with a tomato based sauce in Italy it was never as good when I tried the same dish in this country and it's usually down to the quality of the tomatoes.
I believe spending the bit more on top quality Italian produce such as tomatoes pays dividends in the final dish and this is the philosophy we are following at Enoteca Super Tuscan. We're also lucky to have been able to source some excellent olive oils, salamis and cheeses.
What can we expect from the menu?
Our menu will be kept relatively small but change regularly. We aim to offer a range of stuzzichini (small plates, if you like) which are ideal accompaniments with a glass or two of wine and perfect for those not wanting a big meal. We will also carry about three or four pasta dishes at any one time as well as char-grilled meats and rustic Tuscan stews.
For those looking for just a light working lunch we will offer hearty Tuscan style soups and ciabatta rolls. Finally for groups we will have a range of 'antipasti platters' with a range of superb Italian hams and cheeses. We will also be offering a range of pizzette.
And finally, what can we expect from the initial launch?
We open the doors on January 19 in what is a very low key soft opening of sorts - in so far as we have a limited menu offering, with some items at a slightly reduced price. We want to grow and develop it organically and will need the next few days to iron things out. We expect to have a full offering by the start of February, though.
Enoteca Super Tuscan is at 8a Artillery Passage, E1