Posts by AntrobusButler

Bocca di Lupo

February 10th, 2017 Posted by Uncategorised 0 thoughts on “Bocca di Lupo”

Bocca di Lupo is another restaurant that I’ve long wanted to try, having made great use of chef Jacob Kennedys book, The Geometry of Pasta.  And, yes, it is another Italian restaurant but there is a little difference; it specialises in “the obscure and delicious highlights of food and wine from all across Italy’s twenty regions” making what they can themselves, particularly bread, pasta and ice cream. Anything else is carefully sourced from Italy.

I arrived early for my lunch date with the kitchen boy and was informed that as we’d booked online then we would be seated at the bar, which was, initially, a little disappointing but actually gave me a bird’s eye view of the pass, which I love. However, this often results in a lack of conversation as I’m too busy watching what’s going on around me to concentrate on the kitchen boy!

The staff were most attentive and helpful and bought us a glass of something bubbly while we looked over the menu. Everything on the menu can be ordered either as a small sharing plate or as a main sized portion, apart from things in the “Fritti” section of the menu which are all small mouthfuls. And from which, the deep-fried olive stuffed with pork and veal, was very, very good and served as a perfect appetiser with the bubbles.

We decided to go for five small plates, so that we could try more things, and I couldn’t help but feel that the waiter thought us slightly over ambitious, or maybe just plain greedy? They also had a good selection of wine that could be ordered by the glass or small carafe; perfect for such menus.

The first dish to arrive was the radish, celeriac, pomegranate and pecorino salad with truffle dressing. I thought this was one of the most delicious things I’d ever eaten, mostly because of the truffle dressing, but the kitchen boy didn’t share my enthusiasm and thought it ok.

Next came the risotto with fresh porcini mushrooms, which was also delicious and the flavour of the mushroom sang out loud and clear, whilst the rice was soft and creamy but perfectly al dente.

This was followed by two meaty dishes; spicy sausage made at Bocca di Lupo and ox cheek braised with chocolate and spices. The sausage was good, served very simply grilled, and definitely spicy! The ox cheek was also very tasty, the beefy meatiness bought out by the almost imperceptible, but still there, hint of chocolate. We also had some grilled peppers, which were a little too charred and, therefore, disappointing.

Despite the waiter’s fears I was able to order a small pudding from the dessert menu and went for something charmingly named “grandfathers balls”! And rather lovely balls they were too! Little fried ricotta dumplings with chocolate and cinnamon; a very nice end to the meal with a coffee. I can also vouch for the ice creams, having already sampled quite a few of the different flavours on previous occasions.  In fact, just opposite the restaurant they have opened a gelateria, cleverly named Gelupo, which is dedicated solely to their delicious ice cream.

So, another delicious meal in a restaurant I can heartily recommend. Typical regional Italian food in a very smart setting. In fact, to borrow from the website, “despite the buzzy feel and glamorous surroundings, we are a family business, a small and humble trattoria at heart.” This does indeed ring true.

Sartoria

February 10th, 2017 Posted by Uncategorised 0 thoughts on “Sartoria”

Now, this was a lunch that I was really looking forward to. Way back in September, the kitchen boy had booked a table here for my birthday but owing to an unfortunate series of events we had to cancel. So, with another booking finally secured, I was quite excited, as I’ve long been a fan of the chef patron, Francesco Mazzei.

The day of our lunch was a warm and sultry August Friday, and when we arrived it was very tempting to ask if we could be seated on the balcony that ran along the outer length of the restaurant; so rare to have nice outdoor seating in central London. The bar area at the front of the restaurant was pretty quiet, owing to our early arrival,  and looked so elegant and inviting that the offer of an aperitif here was too hard to turn down. And it really is a beautiful restaurant; the slick elegance is tempered with homely, rustic touches that remind you of the importance of what you are about to eat.

After a couple of drinks, namely Bellinis and Aperol spritz, we made it to our table and perused the menu, ably assisted by various members of staff. And at this point I should mention that the staff are part of what made this meal so memorable; some really interesting characters, who make you feel they are passionate about what they are doing.

It was pretty hard to choose from the menu, as I wanted pretty much everything,  but for our starter I chose the Battuto di Manzo Scozzese, which in English translates as Black Angus beef tartare with pickled truffles and anchovies, while the kitchen boy went for the Burrata d’Andria. This was Burrata, the creamy centre of a mozzarella, with Torpedino tomatoes, smoked aubergine and basil. I can’t really say more than that they were both quite delicious and left us even more expectant of what our main course could offer.

For my main, I opted for the special of the day which was skate wing rolled and stuffed with a prawn and courgette mousse, served in a bisque with prawns and clams. Kitchen boy chose the Tagliata, a classic Italian dish of rare beef sliced and served with rocket and parmesan. The skate was fabulous, a voluptuous dish of perfectly cooked fish complimented by a delicate mousse and a gorgeous, rich bisque. The tagliata was juicy Black Angus beef that did exactly what it said on the tin. Both our dishes were crowned by a towering pile of Zucchine Fritte, fried courgette shoe string fries, that we ordered as an accompaniment. A truly satisfying meal so far and all the better for the very nice bottle of Orvieto that we drank with it.

As we were looking at the dessert menu I received an emergency phone call and we had to leave in rather a hurry. However, I can assure you that both the phone call and our lack of dessert were resolved to a happy conclusion, and although I cannot comment on the dessert menu, it did all look rather good.

I can’t wait to go back to Sartoria; it was very memorable, the fine dining end of Italian cuisine that would be the perfect place to go to for a celebration or special occaision without being uncomfortably formal.

Kitty Fisher’s

February 10th, 2017 Posted by Uncategorised 0 thoughts on “Kitty Fisher’s”

I think Kitty Fisher’s may be my new favourite restaurant! Having seen numerous mentions of it over the last year, by Nigella and Nigel, to name a few, I had been itching to go and was, thus, delighted when the Kitchen Boy told me he’d finally managed to secure a table for lunch.

Named after an 18th century courtesan and set in the heart of Mayfair’s Shepherd Market, the atmosphere in this little restaurant is fittingly cosy and voluptuously welcoming too. Maybe less so upstairs where the few tables feel a little close to each other but downstairs one almost feels transported to another era. The staff are warm and welcoming and enthusiastically helpful.

A glass of champagne was just the ticket as we perused the menu. Top of the menu are several small appetisers, all perfect mouthfuls with a glass of champagne or other aperitif. We opted for the Whipped Cod’s Roe on Bread with Fennel Butter and the Taleggio with Honey, Mustard and Truffle. And both were quite simply delicious.

The menu is quite small but so enticing that it was quite impossible to choose any one thing. In the end we went for four starters to share, which came to the table one after the other.

First to arrive was the Burrata, Beetroot, Radicchio and Pomegranate; a perfectly balanced dish of buttery, creamy cheese which almost melted around the earthy beetroot, the bitter leaves and the sweet and sour pomegranate dressing.

Next was the Beef Tartare with Horseradish, Shallot and Watercress. Maybe not the highlight of the lunch but up there with the best tartares.

This was followed by the Lamb Cutlets with Anchovy, Mint and Parsley; a stunningly delicious but simple dish. In fact, so delicious we were tempted to order another one.

Finally, came the Cornish Crab with Barbecued Cucumber, Dill and Seaweed; another beautiful dish although the crab may have been slightly overwhelmed by the cucumber.

We were pretty full by this point and, although tempted by all of the main courses we realised that it would be foolish to have a go!

Instead we shared a pudding, the Clementine Tart and a plate of cheese with quince. The tart was amazing; short, crumbly pastry with a sharp but sweet and undoubtedly clementine filling. The cheese plate was good too and came with some of the best savoury biscuits I’ve ever tasted.

In short, one of our most memorable meals. I loved it so much and felt so enveloped by the ambience that I didn’t want to leave. In fact, it was so good that as we left we booked to go again a few weeks later.