Great value modern Italian
Part of the Melia Group, Cucina Asellina is a New York styled Italian restaurant inside the 5 star hotel, ME at the Strand. This is actually my second visit to the restaurant, having eaten there about 3 years ago when it newly opened, I must admit I wasn't a big fan back then as the food was decent at best and very pricey. But Cucina Asellina has change the formula and format of the menu completely with some very positive consumer comments, therefore I was eager to try out the place again when one of my friends requested a recommendation to a good value Italian restaurant.
|Salmon tartare, rocket, avocado & sicilian citrus|
|Wild mushroom risotto|
|Pan fried octopus, new potatoes, gaeta olives|
The dishes are tapas sized, mostly costing around the £7 mark. With thanks to "Book a Table" star deal, we got a fantastic offer of £20 for 3 dishes with a cocktail. Prawn tagliolini was finely executed, soft with a silky texture. So was the lobster tortelloni, it tasted fresh and refined with the sweetness of the shellfish really coming to life. Pan-fried octopus was a really high level dish, the smooth texture cut like a fine piece of beef fillet and the smoky aroma plus seasoning was spot on. Honey-glazed lamb rack was truly top notch, cooked to perfection, moist and blessed with delightful flavours of earthiness and natural sweetness of the meat.
|Grilled tuna, shellfish & fregola ragu|
|Pan-fired stone bass & sicilian caponata|
|Honey-glazed rack of lamb & rosemary potatoes|
|Liquorice Pannacotta & Blackcurrant Sauce|
|Wild berry fruit tart, lemon cream|
The transformation of the menu did wonders for me, I was really impressed with the cooking at Cucina Asellia, it was a big improvement compared to my last visit, simple cooking using fresh ingredients, just as how good Italian cuisine should be. The service was also excellent, very New York style with great energy and enthusiasm without going over the top. Don't expect state of the art cooking, but rather, very solid Italian at a very reasonable price in a trendy setting.
What I paid:
£28 pp with wine
Average cost without drinks and services:
336-337 Strand, Strand, London WC2R 1HA