I have an awesome food story. Tapas-specific.

I’m just back from my little sister’s two-day birthday trip to London. My sister’s not a really big foodie, so, for her actual birthday day lunch we went the rainforest café where the food was pretty subpar but the frozen margaritas were awesome (no photos of them though- I was too caught up in the atmosphere- raaaarrrr (jungle noise)).

Anyway, back to the food awesomeness that I simply must share.

So the day before her birthday, in search of food, we happened upon this fantastic Italian restaurant called Bocca di Lupo where we ordered the following:

Battuto (raw minced young beef seasoned with oil)

I’m not sure how many people out there are into steak tartare, or rather are willing to try it, (insert serious need to post about amazing steak tartare from Paris to convince everyone in the world ever to try it) but this is a whole other caboodle. This is not just raw meat, but it’s raw meat that hasn’t had capers or egg yolks or anything fanciful seasoning wise to alter its taste. The fact that it hasn’t even been seriously minced or grinded to smooth out the texture- OH NO.

But, my sister (a far more acclaimed meat eater than i) was all about it, so we tried it.

It was beautiful. It’s weird to write about meat and its texture being soft and almost silky (?), but it was divine. From what I could gather from mister waiter, the meat had been seasoned only through oils plus a little salt and pepper. But when simple seasoning works, it really works. There were no overpowering flavours but it was something that you wanted to eat heapfuls of on crunchy thin slices of toasted bread, but also very much conserve because of the limited amount on your small tiny plate. Recommended- definitely.

Pappardelle with ox cheek, black pepper and tomato

This was like a stew and pasta in one. Or maybe that’s because of my new found association of ox cheek with stews.. The dish had really rich, almost dense flavours with just enough shreddings of ox cheek and large clumpy gratings of parmesan- my favourite type. Although that would slightly lead me to believe that everyone else would think there would be too much parmesan on the dish (Honestly though, I like going to Italian restaurants and asking for extra parmesan on pizzas and watching the waiters face as they keep adding more and more to my pizza… until they’ve emptied their bowl o’ parmesssano and I haven’t said “stop” yet).

No, I’m sticking with what i wrote, the more I think about it the sauce was really similar to what you’d expect a super reduction of stew turned sauce would be. SO GOOD.

Fennel and parmesan risotto

This dish was actually quite surprising. The thin strips of fennel, cooked aldante, delivered a really refreshing bite to the intense scrummy yummy creamy creamy creamy risotto. I liked it.

Romanesco brocolli, cooked soft & served chilled

Maybe I just hadn’t noticed the description when we ordered this from the menu, yeah okay so that’s a lie i didn’t at all, but when it arrived I expected it hot and was surprised to find something seemingly mushy and cold. But after trying again- I was definitely converted to the mushy soft cooked ways of chilled romanesco broccoli and parmesan. I’m not sure exactly how it was seasoned/cooked but however it was I want to learn how. The broccoli mushy bits created this cool almost minty burst and then the parmesan was this brilliant opposing salty goodness. I will try to make this.

Luganega- thin pork sausage with nutmeg, cinnamon & clove, served pink

Completely my sister’s choice- I wasn’t super happy when we ordered it nor was I pleasantly surprised when it arrived and I had tasted it. Maybe surprisingly, but my issue with this was not the “served pink” bit at all, it was more the idea of eating Christmas in a sausage.

Although it was a nicely cooked sausage, which clearly had used very good quality meat- I was quite perturbed by the nutmeg and cinnamon. It was the only thing we didn’t finish.

There were only three of us and the portions were so spot on and the food so filling and scrumptious that we nearly didn’t have room for desserts. But then we changed our minds:

Bombe calde – fresh fried donut with chocolate cream

Does what it says on the tin. Bloody delicious.

Persimmon sorbet and caramel pecan gelato

You can’t go Italian and not have gelato. Though weirdly enough, although the caramel ice-cream was mouth-watering, I think they forgot about the persimmon and we may have just gotten only caramel gelato. But we weren’t complaining.

Cicchetti – the Italian word for tapas. You should try it some time. They’re frickin’ awesome.

Wait, can you still call it tapas if it’s not Spanish cuisine?

Computer says yes.


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