Evoluzione, Xenia Hotel, South Kensington

Located inside the Victorian restored building now home to Hotel Xenia, Evoluzione restaurant offers Italian food with a healthy twist. The light and airy conservatory is the ideal space for a restaurant, it is just a shame that the roaring main road is right outside. On a weekday evening the restaurant could have been quite cosy, but aside from one other table we were the only guests. The staff seemed eager to remain occupied happily rushing about to make sure we had everything we needed.

Chef Pasquale D’Ambrosio heads up the team in the kitchen; on the restaurant floor professional nutritionist Dr. Chiara Manzi hovered ready to answer any dietary questions we had about the menu. In fact, we found we had none, the menu fully explains the concept and the methods of cooking used to achieve the ‘art joins nutrition’ idea.

“Cucina Evoluzione is a new food culture in which pleasure and wellbeing, art and science, creativity and technology harmonise to give an elixir of long life.” We have all seen the inspiring Olive Oil adverts associated with a healthy Italian way of life, but the restaurant concept seems new and exciting. I greedily wondered how much pasta I could eat here and still classify the meal as healthy!

Each dish is carefully described with the method of preparation and the precision used to create it. We tried Violet ravioli with stewed sea bass and dried tomatoes… the colour of the ravioli is provided by a special variety of potatoes which are rich in polyphenols which is heart-friendly and contributes to a long life. Low temperature cooked ostrich meat was lean and apparently contains iron and a kick of Omega-3. Every dish has a story to tell, but I must be honest it wasn’t as tasty as I hoped and it certainly isn’t as satisfying as a big bowl of Spaghetti carbonara.

It was the fresh and vibrantly flavoured starters that were our favourite: Aubergine millefeuille with buffalo mozzarella, caramelised onions, sun-dried tomato and basil was really delicious, perfectly cooked and wonderfully seasoned. The Mozzarella slices with courgette flowers, candied roasted cherry tomatoes, Batavian endive, red onion and peas in almond milk was good too and we were delighted to hear it was beneficial to the skin.

Desserts were interesting – an Evoluzione tiramisu tasted far too creamy to be healthy, and we had fun dissecting the fruit rubik cube! However at £11 each I don’t think they are really worth splashing out on.

I’m afraid to say that Evoluzione, although equipped with friendly staff and good intentions, is a case of a winning idea which just doesn’t translate into a great meal.

More information here.

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