Enoteca Turi, Putney, London, April 2009
Discreet Putney restaurant with a South-West-London-wide reputation. I was attracted to this place after reading several glowing mentions from wine writers. The almost entirely Italian wine list is awesome (in the original, not nauseatingly devalued American sense of the word). Markups on bottles aren't abusive, so if there are enough people at the table, it's an opportunity to try a few bottles and learn something new. I went at lunchtime on a weekday with a friend and it was practically empty. We were very affectionately looked after by jovial, kind staff. The sardine salad starter was passable (getting sardines exactly right requires dexterity and choosing the best fish in the first place), followed by the highlight for me, the spring risotto: gently flavoured and creamy in texture, just the right balance between parmesan and rice, and delightful and lightly cooked greens. The veal had some good contrasts, but they clearly could have used more imagination with the sweetbreads rather than just deep-frying them for too long. The wine list is the thing you come for - it's huge and not that easy to navigate, but the two wines we had were tremendous - the Salento was spicy, peppery and chewy, and the Valpolicella supple and chocolatey. I'm sure this place has good atmosphere on a Friday or Saturday evening. Otherwise its only real attraction is the wine list and the decent Italian dishes.
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