VICO launches Winter Warmer menu in the West EndCultureFood & DrinksRestaurant & bar reviews
Sitting in the heart of the West End, the bustling interior of VICO provides a welcome respite from the tourist throngs and cardboard cut-out eateries dominating central London. Oozing with authenticity via exceptionally warm staff, the Southern Italian trattoria will be even more appealing to frozen, exhausted shoppers and theatregoers after the launch of a specially curated “Winter Warmer” selection of treats and hot drinks.
Launching on 8th December (the Day of Immaculate Conception and official start of the Italian Christmas calendar) the seasonal menu centres around the brilliant Italian invention that crosses the lightness of a croissant with the sweetness of cake: panettone. Usually reserved for elongated Christmas dinners, VICO have put their own twist on the baked delight with different incarnations of it carefully paired with a selection of gelato and indulgent drinks, perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up or sweet end to a meal.
We started our tasting with the Saucy Pandoro, which consisted of a horizontally-sliced mini pandoro – a close but more cake-like fruit-free cousin of panettone – dusted prettily with icing sugar and served with three luxuriant dipping sauces, dark and gianduja chocolate and Zabaione. The sauces, particularly the Zabaione, were incredibly rich so no more than a light dunk from their generous servings was necessary to complement the delicate pandoro. This was paired with a glass of Vin Brulee, the Italian version of the spicy hot wine, which, although in Italy is more often seen being drunk out of paper cups at outdoor gatherings, washed down the heavy sauces excellently.
Next up was the Panettone with Gelato: two mini panettone filled with the advised choice of pistachio and hazelnut gelato. The cool, creaminess of the gelato set off the fluffy panettone beautifully and the nutty flavours were a good match with the fruit of the cake. This was recommended to go with Caffè Speciale, a delicious rocket fuel combination of strong espresso, rich chocolate and moreish amaretto that could perk up even the most listless of London tourists. But the highlight was the innovative Drunken Panettone, slices of panettone doused in alcohol – one in vin santo and the other passito, Italian sweet wines – and topped with whipped cream. Deliciously boozy, this went well with their (literally) liquid hot chocolate and will no doubt be a favourite with British brandy-infused Christmas pudding lovers. The final, simpler option, which apparently serves well as a breakfast dish and has childlike appeal, was Panmarenda, a mini pandoro with a refreshing glass of milk.
Suffice to say, this was a veritable, visually-stunning panettone feast. A dip into this gastronomic experience after your bistro dinner or as part of a café stop to keep you going will definitely leave you with that warm, fuzzy Christmas feeling that only such indulgent treats – and a splash of the good stuff – can achieve. Oh, and take a peek at their mini-panettone-inspired window display complete with figurines that make the cakes look like mountains: a magical sight to behold.
Photos: Silvia Sternardi
To book a table at Vico, One Cambridge Circus, Seven Dials, WC2H 8PA, call 020 7379 0303 or enquire here.