We managed to book online for a table at Sapore though for later on and so Steve and I enjoyed a date in an intimate and romantic Italian bistro.
Sapore is quite small and as soon as you enter you're in the middle of the dining room. The tables a pretty close together so having to wait for a table does mean you're stood over someone eating. There is a bar area ahead but when we arrived there were already people milling around there.
Luckily we did not have to wait long for our table and we settled down quickly. We did not have to wait long for drinks or to order and food came promptly.
Steve started with porcini mushroom risotto with truffled mascarpone & Parmesan. I appreciated the presentation of this dish as it's so hard to make grey rice appealing. It was rich and deep and creamy and a very good risotto. Not as good as the gnocchi but still very good.
This was a great start!
- “12 hour Greenvale Farm rare breed pork belly” with cabbage, fennel, granny smith apple sauce & a crisp crochette
- Duck ‘tre modi’ with baby spinach, butternut pumpkin and Masala-sultana sauce
The duck was done very well. The confit was slightly crispy and salty and the breast was much more gamey, meaty and tender. The butternut squash puree was sweet and cinammon-y and just gorgeous with the duck. My guess was the tre modi was duck confit, duck breast and also the blob of duck liver parfait thing which wasn't a great duck liver creation. But everything else worked.
Interesting that each plate had one flaw according to our tastes but certainly the other aspects outweighed and made up for the shortcomings.
We also enjoyed some sauteed brussel sprouts with bacon which were deliciously charred round the edges although a little greasy.
Sapore is a great little restaurant and I would return for the gnocchi in a heartbeat. The only thing that I hesitate is that our table was not one of the best situated. It was just off centre in the dining room and because the tables are all so close together the walkways between them are quite tight and I kept feeling like I had to dodge the waitstaff and other customers that walked past. I think that sitting at the edge of the dining room in the banquette area or in any of the corners would eliminate this problem so I'd probably ask for one of those tables next time.
Other than that quibble, it's a lovely, romantic, upmarket Italian that retains the charm of a local trattoria and perfect place for a wet and cold Saturday night.