Food & Drink Awards 2019

Page 24 LUXlife 2019 Food & Drink Awards Caffe by day, restaurant by night, this Italian-French fusion eatery offers something a little different in Hertfordshire. Eager to find out more, we took a closer look. Dolce Caffe & Restaurant: Best European-Fusion Restaurant - Hertfordshire With over 20 years of experience gained from such leading lights as Le Cordon Bleu in London, Claridge’s and Simpsons in the Strand, Krenar Elezi decided to open his own place to cook, to experiment and to serve the people of Hertfordshire. He does so in the only way he can, by making excellent food. Calling it Italian-French, though incorporating many more flavours than that, he was ready to open his restaurant in 2012. Tucked unassumingly away at the end of the street, there’s something very classy that runs through Dolce Caffe and Restaurant like a stick of rock. Completely family-run, this small business offers something a little different whenever you come in. With themed nights providing a guide to a constantly evolving menu, you can be sure of a treat when you enter the world of Dolce Caffe and Restaurant. With a fish night every other Friday and a steak night every Wednesday, you can be sure of something a little special when you come through the doors. The steaks at Dolce Restaurant are from grain- fed British cattle, matured and traditionally dry-aged for 28 days. At this point the meat begins to develop its unique flavour and quality, perfect for your delectation when prepared by the incomparable hands of Chef Krenar Elezi. Quite apart from food, you can dine with wine every Monday, utilising stock from an exceptional list, and their now- famous Sunday roast boasts the traditional old-fashioned recipe from Simpsons-on-the -strand, London. All the food used in the meals is fresh, so it tastes as good as it possibly can. This dedication to permeates the business, infusing other aspects of the company with the same attitude. The staff of Dolce Caffe and Restaurant are similarly dedicated to providing an excellent service. Working under Krenar, all new staff are subject to rigorous health and safety checks, with a close eye running the kitchen to ensure that standards are maintained. Regular meetings allow the staff to feedback what they think and find as they go about their work, and to input on potential new ideas they might have. To Krenar, teamwork is what carries the company forward, and the team he has assembled allows him to focus on making the most delicious food he can think of. Never content to settle, Krenar continues to look forward when it comes to his menus and what he offers his customers. Both day and night menus are subject to constant change so that customers can perpetually fall in love with new dishes and ideas. Despite his many years of hard-earned experience in the area of food preparation, he continues to attend food and drink events ‘which help us explore other ideas which can be used in the future.’ This determination to stand out shows in what other activities are taken to make sure that Dolce Café and Restaurant stands out from the rest. These include the deliberate use of top-grade food to ensure that what is served to the customer is of the highest quality and interaction with customers on a personal level, so they can be honest about what could be done better and what they love about the company. Perhaps the most obvious example of standing out from the crowd can be found in the ever-changing menu and multi-cultural fusion that forms the culinary heart of their cuisine. Though described as Italian-French, there is a definite Mediterranean origin with a touch of the middle east, combined with classic French and British disciplines. Taking from such a variety of cultures that relate to each other in tantalisingly different ways means that the customer has an extraordinary variety of food to choose from. It’s something very different to most companies now, a number very much focused on offering something specific to a central concept. An exciting business that offers something out of the ordinary, inspired by classic techniques and great flavours, you can’t deny being intrigued by what Dolce Caffe and Restaurant has to offer. Occupying such a unique position in the market, the joy of cooking can be found in Krenar Elezi’s food as he puts years of experience and experimentation into making you salivate for your supper.