Passione Vino really does what it says on the tin. If you’re looking for palpable wine passion, you don’t have to look much further than Passione Vino’s bespectacled head honcho Luca Dusi. You won’t have to look hard either - ‘I’m here seven days a week,’ he beams as he visits tables, pouring glasses of trademark cloudy prosecco.
Plied with aforementioned prosecco, the atmosphere is one of hedonism. The dinky azure entrance to Passione Vino belies how big the place is. PV is four floors of unfiltered fun, from the boozy wine-tasting basement to the private dining area upstairs, complete with ceiling map of Italy so you can pinpoint the provenance of what’s in your glass. The more you drink, the more labyrinthine Passione Vino feels, with something new and exciting around every corner - a secret staircase behind a mirror, sprawling, tree-like light fittings made from metres of copper tubing and portraits, everywhere, of the many winemakers that Luca has championed over the years.
Food is a recent addition here, which puts Passione Vino firmly amongst London’s gastro-wine bar set. Luca and chef Pascal Lazzarotto are both northerners, from Verona and Padova respectively, and the menu is exactly what you’d expect to eat in those cities: duck ragu with bigoli (like spaghetti but thicker), baccala mantecato (whipped salt cod on crispy polenta) and spezzatino di manzo (beef stew). It’s refreshing to see northern Italian food done with such authenticity in London - every plate is delicious and only gets better as you sup through one of Luca’s bottles. A special shout out goes to the pasta pomodoro - it’s just pasta, tomatoes supplied by one of Luca’s Sicilian winemakers, and salt, but it’s simplicity is perfection.
That rather sums up Passione Vino, really. This isn’t the same experience as a P Franco or a Primeur - the ‘Venetian grandma cooking’, as they call it, is there as a supporting act to the wine, which is the real star. If you’re looking for a place to discover your new favourite wine, you’ve found it.