Nothing kicks off the festive season for me like a good Christmas themed meal. With the work Christmas do all booked I was keen to get as much turkey into my diet this December as possible and the Rosso menu was calling to me. I hadn’t been to Rosso for quite a while but always really enjoyed previous visits so it was time to go back and see what they had to offer for the Christmas party scene.
Sticking beautifully to their colour scheme we were greeted by a towering Christmas tree adorned with deep red and silver decorations. The theme runs around the restaurant with bows, ivy and plenty of fairy lights, Christmas is definitely in the building and I was already starting to feel more festive.
Randomly I went for a Mai Tai to start the evening which is probably the least Christmassy drink I know but it is a favourite of mine. Heavy on the rum it is fruity and tropical, great for a cocktail in a restaurant which is something I have said before about the drinks at Rosso.
I chose off the Christmas menu and my friend decided to go from the winter main menu. Something I love about the Christmas menu is that all the individual dishes are available on the main menu too so if you fancy the turkey main but none of the starters, you can mix and match to an extent. Obviously the set menu price (£35 for three courses) wouldn’t be relevant but it is Christmas, time for a a little self indulgence.
I chose the Affettati Alla Rosso which is a selection of cured meats with melon and goats cheese. The flavours worked so well together with the saltiness from the meat, freshness from the melon and creaminess from the goats cheese. The meat was wonderfully peppery too and melt in the mouth. A really simple starter but certainly a favourite of mine at an Italian restaurant.
My friend chose the Gamberoni Alla Rosso with giant plump prawns that had been poached in garlic, lime and sweet chilli butter. They had a real kick and the chilli warmed the mouth rather than the heat spiking, if that makes sense. The portion was also a nice size although the accompanying crostone was a bit too hard and crisp.
I couldn’t resist the most festive of meals for my main and chose the Tacchino Arrosto – effectively a turkey dinner with all the trimmings that came with a towering bowl of roast potatoes and vegetables, excellent value compared to other Christmas meals I have seen. The ballotine of turkey was a little dry but the turkey meatball totally made up for it as well as the slightly fruity marsala and cranberry gravy.
My friend had wanted to try the steak menu at Rosso for some time so chose the Filetto 8oz. He always orders his steak blue which I personally think it one of the hardest ways for a chef to cook steak as the majority of the time it end ups seared but stone cold in the middle. Rosso’s chefs managed to conquer this to serve a seared piece of meat that was hot in the middle yet still red. The pile of chunky chips were soft and fluffy in the centre with a welcome crunchy coating. A simple dish that is well executed should not be sniffed at.
I was so full by this point but my three course meal came with a dessert so it would be rude not to at least sample what was on offer. The Christmas menu has just one dessert which is a little disappointing on paper but the Trionfo Di Dolci Alla Rosso is effectively three mini puddings in one so you get to try a little bit of them all. My favourite was the pannetonne pudding that is lightly spiced with a gorgeously gooey centre. The baked mincemeat pastry crumble screamed Christmas with a delicately fragrant vanilla and orange cream. The flourless chocolate truffle cake was a bit of a letdown as the portion is so small it went a little hard giving it more of a biscuit consistency but the flavours were good and the brandy cream on top gave it that festive flavour.
Interestingly my friend chose the Flourless Chocolate Cake and it was much softer, spongelike in the centre even without the flour, and a good crust for some crunch, not dissimilar to a very good brownie.
The service all night was impeccable and this was the case to all the tables who were sat near us. The wait staff seem genuinely happy in their work and know the menus inside out. Rosso are closing after Christmas for the majority of January for a refurb. We were told new tables are on the cards and changes to the bar area but other than that, their lips are tightly sealed although they will have to be creative working in the listed building with its intricate features. I am sure there will be changes to the menu to compliment the new feel and I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what they do next. Rosso is still a firm favourite and was the perfect way to start the festive season, go grab yourself a cocktail next to that decadent tree.
We were invited to dine as guests of Rosso and were not asked to pay for our meal.