Latium’s Tenth Birthday
Little has changed during the decade since Italian restaurant Latium opened its doors in London’s Fitzrovia. Co-owned by chef Maurizio Morelli and restaurateur Claudio Pulze (the man originally behind Michelin successes L’Oranger, Zafferano and Aubergine), neither its impeccable service nor excellent food have eroded over time.
The understated eatery, decorated with grey walls and abstract paintings, celebrated its tenth anniversary in traditional Italian style: a lively party with an abundance of amazing food. The event was open to all, with no invitation necessary, and all guests were welcomed as one of the family by Morelli and his charming staff.
Drinks flowed all evening, including a crisp prosecco (Adami Bosco di Gica Brut), while a never-ending succession of canapés began with crunchy, full-sized breadsticks. Made with olive oil and wrapped in a salty parma ham, they were the perfect appetiser. Crispy-coated Arancini balls and Seared Scallops quickly followed, with the former hiding a creamy rice centre made with saffron and beef ragù and the latter served on bread with red peppers – both were outstanding!
The rest of the evening continued in the same manner: no sooner had we sampled one canapé, a waiter would promptly appear to offer another. We particularly enjoyed Carasau (Sardinian flatbread) topped with bresaola (air-dried beef) and Parmesan, along with butter-soft king prawns from South Sicily.
Bruschetta with Buratta (soft cheese) and pickled vegetables was light and refreshing, while Salad of Octopus with green beans and black olives was tender and fresh. Mini Margherita Pizzas, made with thick, airy dough, needed more topping, and sliced veal, served pink with tuna mayo on bread, was pleasant if unusual.
The restaurant’s new ravioli menu was also represented, with a trio of delicious discs: Pumpkin Ravioli with Butter and Sage; Ricotta And Lemon Ravioli with Tomato and Basil Sauce; and Ravioli Filled with Taleggio, Swiss Chard and Walnuts, with Marjoram.
The dessert canapés were supremely good: dainty tarts (a choice of chocolate or raspberry and lemon) circulated alongside coffee-flavoured Zeppole (cream puffs made with pasta choux). However, the biggest surprise was the sudden arrival of a beautiful anniversary cake! Filled with layers of vanilla bavaroise, flaky pastry and chocolate mousse, it was sublime.
Slicing into the cake, Morelli said a simple thank you to his guests, which was deemed too modest by one of Latium’s regular customers. In a moment reminiscent of a scene from the movie Wedding Crashers, the man delivered a spontaneous speech, declaring Latium “the best restaurant in London”.
When we left, we were given a bottle of Latium’s own brand Extra Virgin Olive Oil to take home, with a hand-written note from Morelli thanking us for attending. It’s this warmth and generosity that has seen Latium flourish throughout the past decade: authentic Italian hospitality seeps into every dish. We expect Latium to continue to thrive for many more years to come!
Photos: Monika Jørgesen
To book a table at Latium, 21 Berners Street, London W1T 3LP, call 020 7323 9123 or visit here.