THOROUGHLY MODERN MISS: Wolf II, Finsbury Square

As a second generation Italian, I’d like to think I know a bit about Italian food but I’m (sometimes unreasonably) sceptical about eating anything other than my family’s home cooked fare. So when Milly asked if I’d review the new WOLF II in the city, I was a little dubious but I’d heard great things about the original so off I went in the blazing sunshine into the depths of the city.

Wolf II

The restaurant is situated in the shiny new Finsbury Square nestled amongst other similar venues and towering office blocks. There are a few tables inside, but we chose a table outside in the sunshine. Don’t expect to have a table to yourself though. The outside area is shared with neighbouring food outlets and understandably gets very busy, especially around lunchtime.

We started off with a couple of Aperitivi: A classic Aperol Spritz and an “Inglese” a cucumber-based gin and tonic with San Germain, both of which were delightful.

Wolf II

A ‘May’ salad and a Burrata starter came swiftly after ordering. The salad was light and full of flavour, a little sweet for me, but the pickled rhubarb was a nice addition. The burrata was lovely but then again, burrata is very easy to love and it sounded much more exciting on paper than it actually was (with pomegranate molasses, balsamico, new seasons olive oil, dehydrated and fresh tomatoes finished with iced basil).

We also ordered two of the four pasta options, an orichette with parsley root and tenderstem broccoli and a wild boar pappadelle. The orichette was quite pleasant, the parsley root gave a lovely earthy quality and the broccoli was well cooked. The pappadelle was, sadly, a let down. The flavour of the ragu was good but it lacked sauce and had I suspect had been sitting around for a while before it was served to us as it had started to dry out and stick together.

Wolf II

By far the star of our lunch was the wonderful polenta cake. Moist, just the right amount of sweet and bursting with orange flavour, it was a delightful end to an otherwise rather average lunch.

If you pay a visit to Wolf II expecting Wolf original standard food at cut prices, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed but it’s a perfectly acceptable place for a quick lunch.

More information about Wolf II here.

Written by a Thoroughly Modern Miss, Giovanna Ryan.

THOROUGHLY MODERN MAN: La Tagliata, Spitalfields

There is something uniquely comforting about good, honest Italian cooking. Cliches are cliches for a reason, and so it goes with the traditions of Italian cuisine – bowls of flavour, boards of unassuming simplicity, two or three ingredients getting along joyfully on the plate.

La Tagliata

La Tagliata (nestled in the backstreets of Spitalfields) chimes with a lot of what’s good about cooking from across Italy: quality produce treated properly, a family-inspired menu, and a decent wine list to accompany. Starting with the antipasti for two, our table became a whistle stop tour of the Italian mainland – spicy Roman sausage sat alongside Lombardy bresaola and Sicilian salami. The accompanying focaccia did what focaccia does, namely soak up olive oil (this one a fruity Gustaldo variety from Puglia).

La Tagliata

Tagliatelle with prawns and courgettes was light and well-seasoned, the shellfish sauce adding depth, and “La Sublime”, rare steak thinly sliced and served with truffle salt, rosemary, and balsamic was very close if not right on the money name-wise. A warm chocolate cake made every effort to upstage its predecessors, but didn’t quite do enough. The Maldrino Montepulciano went down a storm, however.

The spaces in La Tagliata itself is refined, relaxed and airy – no mean feat considering the tight footprint it occupies. With the menu drawing on childhood memories from the team of Italian chef/owners, La Tagliata is perfect for those who want their trattoria experience a little grownup, but still with the same comfort flavours.

More information and book a table at La Tagliata here.

Written by James Bomford.

THOROUGHLY MODERN MISS: R Chocolate Afternoon Tea

With the trend of afternoon teas hitting almost maximum saturation around London, it’s always nice to find something unique amongst the delightful but same-y throngs of Victoria sponges and scones. R Chocolate have just the thing. Nestled in the beautiful streets of Belgravia, lies the gourmet chocolate shop complete with its own dessert bar (only open on weekends). The shop is elegant without being pretentious and provides the perfect environment for one of the most luxurious afternoon teas you’ll ever have.

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So what makes it unique? R Chocolate have managed to find their own little niche in the afternoon tea industry, and that niche is incorporating chocolate into every component that is served. The traditional cake stand is stacked chocabloc with delicious miniature versions of chocolatey cakes and treats; from an 80% Grand Cru mousse with hazelnut biscuit and sea salt caramel centre (my personal favourite), to the cacao nib scones with clotted cream and chocolate infused raspberry jam, there is something to satisfy any and every chocolate craving that you could have.

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Now, as your mouth waters at the description of these delicious treats, you must, dear reader, I’m sure, be thinking of how to quench that insatiable thirst that comes to anyone when you’ve indulged in chocolate… R Chocolate’s answer? Chocolate in a bottle, otherwise known as CIAB. Served as an alternative to traditional champagne, which is also available should you choose to bypass full chocolate overload, CIAB is a French sparkling wine infused with chocolate (remember when I said every component of the afternoon tea was chocolatey?). The flavour is subtle enough that you don’t feel like you’re drinking a Yazoo, but it also compliments the wine flavour very well. For those willing to try something new and a bit different, I couldn’t recommend it more.

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Following the feast of chocolate goodies, the R Chocolate team then offers their selection of hot drinks; from their extensive selection of teas, (yes, there’s a chocolate tea!) to coffees and, of course, hot chocolate, there is a myriad of ways to end your afternoon the right way. My guest and I figured that ‘when in R…’ Chocolate, that we had to try their hot chocolate. I chose the hazelnut hot chocolate, otherwise known as molten Nutella, whilst my guest went for the more exotic and infinitely trendier option of chilli hot chocolate. Both were exquisite and were just further examples of just how well R Chocolate does what their name suggests.

If you have any chocolate-lovers in your life who deserves a special treat, look no further than R Chocolate’s afternoon tea; it ticks all the right (chocolate) boxes.

More information and book a table here.

Written by Thoroughly Modern Miss, Angelica Bomford.