Location, location, location – it really is everything. And for this new quayside London restaurant, it’s both a blessing and a curse.
Bella Cosa, perched on the edge of the vast South Quay waterway in London Docklands, looks out to the suited, booted and buzzing Canary Wharf. Its unique, close up, almost intimate view of this iconic business district is breathtaking; you’ll see these commanding skyscrapers through fresh eyes.
However, the spectacle comes at a price. Despite being a very short walk from South Quay DLR station, Bella Cosa isn’t on a main road, and is thus almost inexplicably hard to find (my guest got very lost en route – more detailed directions on the restaurant’s website would’ve helped).
But once inside and immersed in its stylish, moodily-lit interior, Bella Cosa is something of a calming oasis, with the sound of traffic a distant memory. That said, its clean, contemporary feel would lend itself well to an impeccably well-dressed lunchtime rush.
Also, Bella Cosa’s Italian-inspired food is top notch: at times traditional but with heavy doses of dynamism, reflecting the tastes of the well-traveled, surely difficult-to please business types who make up much of its clientele.
The menus are all intriguingly imaginative and complex – Royal Pigeon ‘in three ways’, or black cod in prosciutto with baby cuttlefish in black ink and polenta, anyone?!
We opted for the epic set menu, sitting in the beautifully presented upstairs restaurant, although we’ll definitely return for a more casual bite at the ‘Chef’s Isle’ counter, where you can sample colorful, freshly-prepared seafood.
The restaurant – still newly-opened during our visit late last year – was quiet, but this made for a lovely, romantic dining experience, with plenty of a playful interaction and commentary from the restaurant’s excellent staff.
For a private function, perhaps request the elaborate wine room [pictured above]. Evidently, oenophiles are well catered for at Bella Cosa, and we very much enjoyed our bottle of zesty Cantina Novelli sparkling wine.
Meanwhile, here are just a few of the strong flavors we sampled across four courses and two amuse-bouches: wafer thin, daintily-presented meat and fish carpaccio; luxuriously pungent five cheese ravioli, and our favorite – tender, melt-in-the-mouth pork belly served with artichoke puree.
We met the restaurant’s (very handsome) Executive Chef Kentaro Torii and his love and enthusiasm for the food was impressive; a special mention, also, for the restaurant manager and cocktail waitress who were charming to chat to, and introduced us to the addictive, sparkling lime soda Tassuni, as well as the deliciously potent Lost & Found Ria Dunn Found Bionda Beer from Tuscany.
Overall, a great, friendly little restaurant, launched with a clear vision of what it wants to be, deserving of great success.
For more information about Bella Cosa, visit the official website by clicking here.