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LVB - where passion comes to life

Valletta's latest edition to the culinary world, LVB, offers a fine dining experience without the fuss. What you can expect here is two partners with a passion for creating the perfect dining experience. AMY MICALLEF DECESARE investigates.

Steve Jobs said that “the only way to do great work is to love what you do”. Love what you do, do what you love, this has never been more true that of LVB in Valletta. Two men, with a passion for superb ingredients, perfect flavour combinations and artistry in plating, provide an experience in fine dining without the fuss.

It’s not often that I actively choose to face the traffic and potential parking issues head on and head down to Valletta, just for dinner. This time, however, I made the effort and made my way to LVB on a cool summer evening. Looking back, I’d make the same decision every single day (if my bank account allowed it).

Located on Merchant street, one of the most sought after locations not only in Valletta but on the island, Toni Ventura, LVB’s owner, knows exactly what he’s doing.

I’m going to need you to take a seat and pay close attention to this one and even then, I fear a mere review of this restaurant may not even do it justice. Move over Gordon Ramsay, there’s a new chef in town and he goes by the name of Ryan Gialanze.

After taking a seat in the small, cosy restaurant, my guest and I were presented with menus, featuring five or seven course meals. Within a split second we made the obvious decision: “The seven course meals, please”. To spice things up, I ordered the vegetarian version of the seven course menu, if even just for comparison’s sake. I’ll be honest; as keen carnivores, I expected that we’d both be somewhat unsatisfied by the vegetarian menu. I could not have been more mistaken. Hand on heart, upon returning to LVB, my greatest struggle will be whether to stick to my roots and order the Argentinian beef fillet, 48-hour cooked pork and langoustine thermidor or the hen’s egg miso soup, potato dauphinoise and beetroot variation. Who am I kidding? I’ll likely order them all again.

Starting with the amuse bouche, which varies according to the season and what’s on the market, we got through seven courses, without so much as a hiccup or pause. For every non-vegetarian dish, such as the sumptuous smoked brisket, there’s an equally delicious vegetarian dish; in this case the char-grilled pumpkin with chickpea home made dahl, yoghurt and radish. Not a single detail was missed, with stunning presentation and an undeniable passion for the art of cooking, I challenge even the most experienced ‘foodie’ to find a single fault in Ryan’s methods and techniques.

Just in case you were under the impression that LVB have only mastered the art of savoury cooking, you’d be mistaken. Moving onto the sweet section of the menu, Ryan brought round his version of a ‘palate cleanser’. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t palate cleansers usually a couple teaspoons of exceedingly sweet lemon sorbet? Not at LVB. As they did with the savoury section of the menu, they have completely revolutionized the idea of the humble palate cleanser, elevating it into a dessert in itself, one I wish I could order on a daily basis (and still have the dessert afterwards). Variations of strawberry parfait, strawberry granita and triple sec followed by a decadent chocolate mousse, warm olive oil cake and dark chocolate sorbet. Is your mouth watering yet? I know mine is.

In a hurry and on the hunt for a quick sandwich? Keep walking. On the hunt for a beautiful evening featuring unparalleled food, service and atmosphere? Book a table. I’ll even go so far as to say that if you’re even slightly disappointed, I’ll be happy to come down there myself and challenge you.

LVB

65/66, Merchant Street,

Valletta

Tel: 79285845

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