Review – Negozio Classica [Primrose Hill]

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In a nutshell

Upscale, excellent Italian cuisine served in intimate but modern surroundings. Glorious, high quality wine selection.

You come for the wine, you stay for the wine…

This Negozia Classica can be found in elegant Primrose Hill, Camden. And the restaurant certainly retains some of the quaint ambience that the area is steeped in. It’s located on trendy little street filled with townhouses, boutique shops, independent cafes and bakeries. It’s also right next to the park. Despite the London location, this gives the area a leafy, ‘slow’ feel.

aa PH bar Negozio med-res

Negozia Classica isn’t your ‘typical Italian’. It seems to offer more antipasti type dishes rather than the usual pizza and pasta. In fact, I think Negozia counts as an enoteca – which means it’s something of a wine shop / Italian restaurant hybrid.

So, think wine tastings, with a lot of high quality wines which you’ll find hard to obtain in the UK. Including organic and biodynamic offerings! Negozia is part owned by the Italian vineyard, Avignonesi, that supplies its wine. And as soon as you step in, you’ll notice it’s all about the wine. By the front entrance is a wonderful array of bottles for sale, and if you choose to get a bite to eat, the staff will help match the wine to what you are eating.

Negozia’s design evokes the feeling of a small, cozy traditional Italian eatery, tucked away off of the high street, though with something of a modern update. The place had a brightness about it, the decor has a kind of designer chic strategically created to evoke what I think was a Tuscan atmosphere(?) So think chalkboards, reclaimed wood and sultry jazz setting the atmosphere. A mix of new and old.

Negozia was perhaps a bit too cosy at times, my only complaint here being that the place is somewhat cramped, and we arrived during a busy period. It was pretty hard to get around at some points.

Downstairs you’ll find a wine bar, and upstairs is something of a more traditional cafe/bar combination, which is where we got to sample the food. It was intimate and would seems perfect for holding some kind of (not too energetic) dinner party in (sans dancing…)

And yes, unlike most of the food reviews I write, I didn’t actually plan to review this one. This was more a wine tasting in which I food was sprung upon us (though I’m not complaining…) – so I apologise in advance for having to use some promotional shots instead of my own pictures, and perhaps being a little forgetful on the details.

Negozia’s food was delivered in the aperitif style, but in seriously generous portions. Me and +1 had an entire table’s worth to ourselves. This is definitely one of the best problems I’ve had in a while, and one we were up to solving.

So, what was on our table you may wonder…?

Food

Organic beef fillet ‘Tagliata’

Thin cut beef

This was basically an extremely high quality cold cut, rated 5* by what I (modestly) proclaim as my well honed ‘Carnivore Credentials’…

Il Tagliere di Formaggio

Lots of cheeses

Of this I mainly remember the Gorgonzola, a cheese I rarely get and one which I love. Negozia’s was wonderful and I think I ate about 95% of it. In fact it was so good that it kinda hypnotised me and I can’t remember what the other cheeses were. But the +1 seemed to enjoy them!

Carpaccio di Pescespada e Tonno

Swordfish and tuna carpaccio

Despite being ‘that guy who eats all the fish’ I have never had this kind of thing before, which is mixed fish cut thinly, in the cold cuts style. And damn what I have been missing! It was like….aquatic cold cuts, served with a drizzle of olive oil to complete it’s incredible richness and taste. I guess it was like ‘swordfish/tuna ham’ (though this word combination evokes somewhat bizarre images). Incredible.

Courgette carpaccio

Courgette salad

The dish was made up mainly of thinly cut courgettes which were sweet and light, and which made for a welcome contrast with the ample and heavier helpings of meat, fish and cheese. A good idea.

Drink:

As I mentioned, here the drink is probably more important than the food, and if you like Italian red wine this might be the best place to find yourself.

And, since we were here for a wine tasting we sampled quite a lot…

Nobile Di Montepulciano 2010, Grifi 2010 and the Desiderio 2010. 

They were all pretty legit, but of all of them I’d heartily recommend the Nobile, which I can only describe as being rich, broad and full of subtle flavours that made my mouth very excited. All of the wines were so very easy to drink, and to be honest I felt kinda sad seeing some of other tasters throwing it back into the bucket after sampling. I would have happily finished things for them. Cos I got an iron liver and a love for the red…

Vin Santo di Montepulciano 1999 

The +1 poetically described this like drinking a raisin. Which is true. Also I like raisins. It was like nothing I’ve ever drunk before. So fruity. Incredibly sweet so not too much of it was needed. A ‘dessert wine’ that I can still recall the taste of even now. I’d quite like to buy some for myself but on my current wages that wouldn’t be a good idea…

Verdict

The food and drink here were really memorable. If you, dear reader, like red wine, especially Italian red wine – you should come see it.  Though Negozia is ‘Italian’, it certainly not to be lumped in with somewhere you’d go just to get a pasta carb up or a pizza (though I’m sure they do all right with these here too).

It’s definitely one I’d return to, first for the incredible cold cuts and wine. And I’d have my wallet prepared too 🙂

Details:

54 Regent’s Park Road, Primrose Hill, London, NW1 8XN

T: 020 7483 4492

W: www.negozioclassica.co.uk

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