Modern Italian fare in a slick, contemporary environment.
What was previously 5 Rooms restaurant at the Alphen Hotel is now the ultra modern and slick Blanko.
As the name suggests, Blanko as a space is predominantly white, punctuated by pieces of modern art by local artists. The space is gallery-like in its simplicity and maintains a sharp, efficient feel as waitrons in leather aprons move seamlessly between the restaurant’s rooms and the kitchen.
The food, much like the space, speaks to unfussy dishes that sound simple but are complex in flavour and concept. The menu starts with stuzzichini – local cheeses, charcuterie, olives and other tasty morsels to whet the appetite. Following these small bites is an antipasti menu, of which the asparagus dish is a standout. Delicate asparagus spears with the fluffiest baked ricotta, and served with asparagus pesto. The dish as a whole just a real success of simple flavours and textures done well. Following antipasti is a good selection of mains that range from carne and pesce to pastas, risottos and pizza.
The sea bass main and the fillet were both delicious – the steak absolutely perfectly cooked and the vegetable side, crunchy and well seasoned. What stood out across all dishes was a commitment to clean, simple concepts, with the real work being in the concentrated flavour in each element.
The wine list is also well curated and it was a pleasure to see some really excellent wines offered by the glass. Often these are only available as full bottles, but when you are dining as a couple and only one person is drinking wine, it is refreshing to be able to order something really amazing.
For dessert we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try the tiramisu. The dessert being a modern take on the much-loved old classic. This version was an ultra light, layered pyramid slice with just the right hint of espresso and mascarpone. Not overly sweet, but ideal to end off a sophisticated meal.
Blanko firmly removes the red-checked tablecloth stereotype of Italian restaurants and replaces it with a contemporary, polished feel. Don’t go expecting an arm’s length list of rich pizzas and pasta; this is not what Blanko is about. Instead expect a refined menu that brings the classic flavours of Italian cuisine to the fore and delivers these in a sophisticated and delicious way.
Ideal for a entertaining clients, or an intimate dinner for two.