Premium lounge bar and Italian kitchen Ritorno London is bringing a taste of Italy to the King’s Road with the aperitivo concept.
Head barman, Paolo Viola formerly of Rivoli Bar at The Ritz and chef Filippo Salzano, have collaborated to create a cocktail and food pairing experience using artisanal ingredients inspired by and sourced from the Italian peninsula and surrounding islands.
“London is the world’s mixology capital,” said Paolo Viola. “We aim to harness and enrich this local expertise with Italy’s finest artisanal and rare produce, amalgamating it with the Italian aperitivo concept.
“Aperitivo is not simply an opportunity to wash away the working day’s stresses,” he adds. “It is a social experience; an excuse to enjoy the finest flavours with family and friends”.
Ritorno’s cocktails are divided into four distinct areas: Regional Specialities, Bollicine (meaning bubbly), Ritorno Classics and Ritorno Specials. Ritorno’s Regional Specialities are inspired by the descriptive words of native Italian poets and lyricists.
The fragrant Sardegna cocktail is inspired by the island’s lush Mediterranean flora and the words of Nobel Prize winner and Sardinian native Grazia Deledda. It features a vodka base shaken with Mirto Silvio Carta (a traditional botanical Sardinian liquor made from Juniper berries), in-house produced spicy blueberry syrup and lavender air.
Even the classic Negroni is revolutionised at Ritorno. Using Italian craft gin and one of the 20 exclusive vermouths stocked at Ritorno, Viola’s team of mixology masters age their Negroni for one month in-house within a Marsala-washed oak barrel to add long character and complexity to the cocktail.
All bread and pastas are made daily in-house with organic, natural flours and even the mozzarella is made using the authentic Italian method but here in the UK to ensure it’s as fresh as possible. Classic Aperitivo dishes include Tagliolini di Ragù e Polpettine di Fassona, Guancia di Manzo con Polenta Morbida and Vitello Tonnato.
Head chef Filippo said: “We have carefully studied every cocktail and dish combination to ensure they complement and enhance one another. Just like the cocktails, we have returned to the land to source the best possible ingredients and combine them in an innovative and exciting way”.