Thursday, 12 December 2013

Review - Bocca di Lupo

The Explorer's family were visiting as mini-splorer has an interview. I had decided, in advance of their visit, that it was time to get them GIFTS. Not gifts just for being them, you understand. Christmas gifts. You know last year's John Lewis advert which was really lame and had that small boy getting really excited for Christmas as he got to give his parents a gift? Well, as unrealistic an depiction of any child as that is, I do understand the sentiment! Giving presents is REALLY nice (if they're well received). And I hardly ever get to do it what with not incorporating the presents and alcohol bit into the Haque family Christmas. So, anyway, I got his mother a scarf which is almost certainly not to her taste, the brother a wallet and the family a book about wine and maps. I think I did well. I did especially well on the choice of restaurant. Bocca di Lupo which I've been trying to go to ever since I started young blog. We had attempted to book a table before but apparently two weeks notice isn't enough. Even three weeks notice means eating at 5.30 (but that's OK because they were going to a mince pie party afterwards). (I took only one photo because I was hungry and I didn't want to have to keep reaching for my phone.)

We started with a selection of six. The raw seafood (prawns, bream and scallop) were like little ice cubes of sea. So fresh that they tasted barely like fish, just sweet. The sea bream was slightly saltier and, in my opinion, that made it slightly more moreish. (Ha.) The pumpkin and amaretti filled pasta was almost like a pudding with the autumnal, almost nutty creaminess. The pasta still had bite to it and that really helped define every element of the dish. The tagliatelle with venison stracotto had less bite to it but it was still beautifully cooked. The Explorer doesn't understand why it was my favourite dish as it did taste largely like bolognese. But I think classic dishes done really well almost always trump peculiar new concoctions. That's probably why roast potatoes and red onion were my second favourite dish. The onions were so slippery and glistening with oil yet the potatoes were crisp and soft. Probably the best roasted vegetables I've tried. My least favourite dish was the foie gras sausage: I found it a little too salty for my liking. The texture of the accompanying farro more than made up for my nitpicking with the sausage. The cotechino was the opposite of the lunga. Here, the lentils were saltier but that rather suited them. They were almost crunchy with their bite but still chalkily smooth. The sausage was the most delicious of the sausage dishes we tasted. The spicy sausage was a bit more basic but the side of tomato and rosemary polenta was wonderful. I've never tried polenta before and I think this was the right place to pop the cherry. I'd describe it as being halfway between a risotto and mashed potato. And I love both of those things! We had this sausage dish as part of our seconds. We also ordered the roasted pumpkin with sage and balsamic and the wild boar ragu. The pasta with the ragu had almost too much bite to it. The acidity in the ragu was stronger than with the venison which made it less mellow but it was still very enjoyable. The star of the meal was the roast pumpkin with balsamic. I often describe things as 'heady' and 'addictive'. Like the boy who cried wolf, I'm in trouble because this actually WAS exactly both those things.

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