Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Vicar's Kitchen: Polpo – a Venetian Adventure

After extensive, and I mean extensive, consideration I can confidently say that my favourite food is Italian. There is little better than a pizza with a perfectly crispy base topped with gooey mozzarella, or a bowl of fresh pasta scattered liberally with parmesan. As you will have picked up from the last Vicar's Kitchen post I am also a big fan of tapas so you can imagine my joy at discovering the restaurant Polpo in London which I can best describe as an Italian tapas sensation.


The restaurant is well worth a visit if you are in the neighbourhood. Tucked at the back with a bottle of red and two tumblers amongst the rickety tables and simple linens is an absolute joy and well worth a trip. But if you happen to live further afield, fear not. Good old Polpo also have a cookbook. A whole new world of Italian masterpieces to try can come to you!

Polpo's founder Russell Norman drew his inspiration from one of the most surreal and spectacular places I have ever visited, Venice. The cookbook is beautifully laid out and full of pictures of this extraordinary city, its waterways and back street cafes whose food inspired the recipes in the book.
 
 
The concept of the book is based around sharing. There a little bites to start things off with, Cicheti, including my favourite of all mini-bites the mighty Crocchette. In the restaurant we had some delicious Salt Cod Crochette and the book has a recipe for a Parmesan and Potato version which looks amazing.


Another revelation of Polpo are the Pizetta, think little mini pizzas to share that are feathery light and with innovative toppings. We had topped with Prosciutto and Gorgonzola that was amazing. The book has several versions like Zucchini, Mint and Chilli and Pork and Pickled Pepper.
 
 
Meatballs are another speciality of the house and ours came on little toothpicks like the world's greatest lollipops! I can't wait to try making the Lamb and Pistachio ones in the cookbook. But the crowning glory of the whole experience was definitely the dessert, Nutella Pizetta and chocolate salami.
 
My Chocolate Salami
 
I immediately went home with plans to make my own chocolate salami which I made to a bit of a mash up of the Polpo and Nigella Lawson's recipe in Nigellissima. Nigella adds Amaretto to hers which I consider to be a stroke of genius, you can find here recipe here. It is totally messy to make and hugely decadent but absolutely brilliant fun.

My own little Venetian Adventure! 
 
So there we have it, a highly recommended assortment of Venetian cuisine from my kitchen to yours. Now where did I park my gondola?!

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