Living only a four hours drive away from Italy and enjoying the vast influence of Italian cuisine in Munich on an almost daily basis I do know a thing or two about Italian cooking and food. The typical recipes of the Northern Italien Südtirol region, a few sentences in Italian and what a traditional Italian restaurant look like.
The assumed simplicity of the Italian cuisine has lured many into opening restaurant chains, that mostly serve Italian inspired pasta dishes and the odd tomato and mozzarella salad at most. Yet traditionally the Italian Kitchen brings a lot more flavour and variety to the table.
The Italian restaurants I´ve tried so far were setting the bar fairly high for this evening of the new menu launch of Avalanche. Rio Ferdinand´s Rosso is one of my favourite places to go for a new meal, yet it lacked the friendly, homely and cozy feeling I got accustomed to in Italy, with waiters ranging from just ignorant to arrogant. Just a stone´s throw away Croma and San Carlo are doing an impressive job at good quality food and atmosphere.
For our blogger evening, the crowd was a good mix between all blog topics, from mummy bloggers to beauty, fashion and obviously food. The reception was nice and friendly, my coat was taken care off and I was handed a glass of wine. Good start. Having a quick look around, the kitchen offered an impressive display of fresh catch and some not so happy looking lobsters were waiting to be rescued from their imminent journey into one of the cooking pans. After a quick welcome drink, we were seated with a cooler of prosecco ( DOC quality ) and our starter was served quickly afterwards.
All tables were set beautifully, complementing the sleek white decor, that seems a tad bit 80s with the blue lighting at some times ( but hey every Italian bar looks a bit like that ).
For starters we were offered a sharing plate of three different kinds of bruschetta: classic ( delicious fresh tomatoes! ), red pepper antipasti ( not too greasy, still fresh ) and one which I presume consisted of a paste of aubergine, artichoke and courgette. The salsa it was served with tasted slightly but not overpoweringly of sweet fennel. The fried rice ball (arancini), was crisp outside and yummy hot and flavorful on the inside. I could eat more of those.
For mains we were presented with a Surf and Turf sharing platter. Sole, scampi, lamb and chicken were all to the point. Especially the lamb is to mention here, which certainly is among the best I´ve ever had ( and my mum does a pretty mean shoulder of lamb !). If there is one point of criticism here then it would be the peppercorn sauce. I get that delivering a high standard of sauce for 100 people on the night is tough and chefs are tempted to not do everything from scratch but a) the sauce was not even necessary as the quality of food was outstanding enough and b) you can ALWAYS taste an artificial flavour and c) it is not really an Italian.
Dessert was a trio of cheesecake, chocolate cake and tiramisu. The cheesecake was kind of tangy and not too sweet which I like, the chocolate cake was dense and full of rich dark chocolate flavors. I would have happily just had a giant slice of tiramisu here or maybe some panna cotta instead of cheesecake or profiteroles.
What really made the evening for me was how absolutely professional, welcoming and attentive all staff were. The manager was not tired of checking on every table, making sure we were ok, but also clearing dishes himself. The waiters were incredibly friendly and provided top class service.
If there is one thing I would like to pass on to the team of avalanche here, then its that food can be never too Italian, but it can certainly be to "international". Cheesecake and chocolate cake is not necessary when panna cotta, profiteroles and tartufo is your heritage.
Other than that this is certainly in my top list for Italian restaurants in town, now all I have to do is try their pizza!