London Reviews: Lunch at Veneta

Of all the recent developments in London’s thriving culinary scene, the rejuvenation of St James Market is definitely one of the most exciting.

Previously just a bland spot of land, off Piccadilly Circus, the area is all set to become an attractive dining destination with the arrival of new names such as Anzu (from the folks behind Tonkotsu) and Veneta.

The rather glam Venetian-inspired setting of the latter seemed a particularly fitting choice of venue for my recent ladies who lunch-eseque afternoon with the indomitable spirit around town, Su-Lin


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Interiors-wise it’s a rather dazzling restaurant, exuding a captivating charm with understated aplomb. Think sharp urban features softened with subtle elements of comfort, such as handcrafted iron chandeliers and Murano glass screens clad in soothing hues of turquoise…

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The menu offers up a Venetian twist too, with a raw bar serving seasonal British and Venetian seafood alongside sharing-style plates.

As Su-Lin neatly summed up afterwards, all the dishes we tried were deeply flavoured, reflecting generous marinades, superior stocks and an artistic eye in presentation – transforming many typical ‘brown’ dishes with bright accents of green garnish. Or in the case of our ice cream, the scattering of pink praline, reminiscent of crushed pink sugared almonds!

She particularly loved the roast duck with peverada ( a typical Venetian sauce based on chicken livers), pickled pear and radicchio, which featured piquant hints matched with buttery and crisp textures.

Also ideal for autumn, was my porcini and truffle risotto garnished with gremolata (a zesty herb condiment). It was decadently rich and comforting, but without overwhelming the rest of our meal which included a croquette-like fried polenta, speck and fontina “sandwich”; and an immaculate Romanesco salad, enlivened with the addition of raisins, pine nuts and Riesling vinegar.

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Sadly the dedicated hot chocolate menu was unavailable at the time (looks like we’ll just have to return to try the enticingly heady concoctions suffused with the likes of Earl Grey syrup or orange and grappa!)… but a silky smooth bay leaf and pink pepper gelato quite hit the spot on that pleasantly mild afternoon!

Although the flavours of the bay leaf could have been slightly stronger, it added a refreshing touch and was the perfect canvas for the bevy of warm and crunchy trimmings on top from cinnamon brittle to pink pralines.

We also ordered the tiramisu (when in Italy after all!). Although I found the layers of sponge to be a tad too stodgy, the crafty use of coffee meringue as a decorative pool around the dessert definitely set apart this rendition of a timeless classic!
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Having often visited (for both work and pleasure), Su-Lin couldn’t help but remark after – if only it were so easy to find such adventurous Venetian cuisine in Venice!


Veneta, 3 Norris St, St. James’s Market, London SW1Y 4RJ

Square Meal

Author: The Foodie Diaries

A food travel & lifestyle journal, chronicling my culinary and other adventures around town.

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