It encouraged Londoners to love Venetian cuisine, and now the Polpo restaurant group hopes to do the same for Italian sparkling wine with the launch of a new Franciacorta and Prosecco Bar on the Fifth Floor of Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge.
“There’s much more to Italian sparklers than just your average Prosecco extra dry, and we want to show off all the amazing varieties that Italy has to offer,” says bar manager Tom Ross, who is hoping to tempt shoppers away from their usual glass of fizz with a list that includes several examples of Franciacorta, a wine from Lombardy made using the classic “champagne” method. The most famous of these is the Ca’ del Bosco’s Franciacorta Cuvée Prestige, a metodo classico style with notes of apricot and toasted nuts.
Other highlights from the list include Pojer e Sandri’s Zero Infinito, a straw-yellow, cloudy wine made in the col fondo style with aromatic peach and floral notes; and the extra brut Celeber Prosecco from Dal Bello, an ultra-dry fizz imported exclusively for Polpo Harvey Nichols that would make an excellent aperitif paired with a dish of the restaurant’s signature fried olives.
Cocktails include Italianate twists on champagne classics such as the Twinkle (rosemary-infused vodka stirred with elderflower and topped with Piedmontese 100 per cent sparkling Chardonnay blanc de blanc) and a Venetian version of the classic French ’75 made with brut Prosecco and fresh blood orange.
Since no Italian would countenance an aperitivo without a little something to eat on the side, the bar also offers a tantalising selection of bar snacks – Venetian cicheti include zucchini arancini and fig and prosciutto crostini, while small plates range from cod cheeks with lentils and salsa verde to a spicy pizzetta with pork and pickled peppers.