Monday, April 29, 2013

Aperitivo at Baglioni

Got a free Thursday in your diary and want a fabulous way to spend it?!

How about an afternoon of shopping?!  A stroll in the sunshine along High Street Kensington, a peruse of the latest spring / summer D&G handbags in Harrods and then a catch up with friends over the newly launched Aperitivo Menu at The 5 star boutique Baglioni Hotel?  Quite frankly, I can’t think of a better way to spend a free day…

Every Thursday between 5:30pm and 7:30pm during the summer months, the Baglioni now offers a superb Italian inspired Aperitivo which includes a cocktail and  a choice of antipasti, salami or cheeseboard platter for just £15, which will have you wishing every day was a Thursday!

We arrived around 6:30pm and made our way through the super chic hotel lobby area right opposite Hyde Park and through to the bar and restaurant.  An area which made us think immediately of a grand oversized reception room in an Italian mansion.  Stunning fixtures including clear cascading waterfall dividers, expensive glass candlebras, a giant champagne cabinet, huge round studded tables, black heavy curtains and ornate vases filled with fresh orchards on huge stalks.

We fell into the plush, gold, oversized, armchairs and got comfy while we waited for our cocktails to arrive.  A group of ‘Sex and the City’ style girlies arrived just after us, and headed to the bar area for champagne, while couples, families, and business meetings occupied the chairs and tables around us – a really nice early evening mix of the affluent.

Although the Brunello Bar and Lounge offers a wide range of specialities, sparkling cocktails, pre-dinner cocktails and sparkling martinis by the glass, the Aperitivo choice is also wide, and we decided after much deliberation to go for the Tulip Martini – a blend of Belvedere Vodka, blackberries, passion fruit, amaretto and apple sour, and for the Rossini – mixed with strawberry puree and prosecco.  I tasted both and couldn’t decide on my favourite so I’ll leave that down to you to decide...

We mopped up generous amounts of delicious tasting oil with an overflowing basket of breads – white and brown rolls, crispy flat breads and tomato and olive focaccia.  It was so good, that we really had to struggle not to eat it all before our antipasti platter arrived…  And it was definitely worth holding out for!  I’ve never seen such beautifully presented antipasti….ever!  The meats were swirled into flower shapes, and the cheeses, artichokes, olives and tomatoes were decorated with tiny flowers.  Simply stunning and a little too good to eat (thankfully this appreciation passed and we decided to get stuck in… clearing the entire wooden platter and feeling surprisingly full afterwards).  Our antipasti was also accompanied by 4 special Aperitivo dishes which included caprese, parma ham, feta cheese and smoked salmon with beetroot sauce.  Again, the presentation was exquisite.

A pleasant palate cleanser followed which was a fragrant combo of Tanqueray gin, lemon, grapefruit and mint… just perfect before a glass of wine.  We opted for the Sauvignon St. Magdalene which at £9.50 was a satisfying price and an even more satisfying taste.

What a wonderful way to while away the early evening hours!  The Aperitivo menu at Baglioni is available now and well worth free-ing up some Thursday space for!  Or if you’re after something a little more substantial from the main menu, the restaurant is now led by highly acclaimed Two Michelin starred chef Moreno Cedroni, so it’s pretty much a dead cert that you won’t be disappointed…


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