Thomas and I made meatballs earlier this week and agreed they were the best we’ve ever made, I’d go as far as to say the best I’ve ever eaten in fact.
Italian food is definitely my favourite cuisine and last summer on holiday in Italy I had some of the finest food I’ve ever eaten. I see that London Eater is running a poll to gauge favourite cusines. Italian gets my vote. I’m not certain that I have the eloquence to explain in words exactly why I love Italian food so much. At its core there are the fine ingredients, pastas, fish (I had a fantastic lobster spaghetti in Venice that was a particularly memorable example of both these things working perfectly together), olives and oils, cheeses, vegetables and meats. Then on top of that there are the typical Italian dishes such as pizza, ragu, gelato, tiramisu, popular among the diets of most people on the planet! We took these pictures at a food market in Venice.
Chefs and Food Writers flock to the shores of Italy in search of the finest delicacies and my most desired cookbook at the moment is Tessa Kiros’ ‘Venicia: Food of Dreams’. I love Kiros’ books, I have both ‘Falling Cloudberries’ and ’Apples for Jam.’ They are beautiful and inspiring works and they really capture on the page the sense that memories of food really can cast you back to treasured times past. Kiros’ cooking is incredibly diverse with parents and grandparents from various countries who all liked to cook and were true to their origins in the recipes they passed onto her.
My food roots are stuck much more firmly in Britain and experimenting with flavours and trying new things has come to me quite late in life by comparison. I think that’s why I love food so much, because at a certain point I became aware that there was so much I had never tried.
Da Mario, a quaint little restaurant on Endell Street in Covent Garden serve the finest Italian food I’ve tasted in the city. On my last visit I had Bruscetta to start followed by Penne Arrabiatta.
The starter was quite exquisite. Great quality, fresh ingredients are of the essence with Bruschetta and Da Mario did not disappoint. The tomatoes were juicy and vibrant in both colour and flavour. A killer combination with the fragrance of the basil and crunch of the bread. The penne was cooked to perfection and the spicy tomatoey sauce was faultless, prompting food envy from Thomas when his sausage pasta arrived (though this too was very good).
To master these dishes may seem fairly simple but having sampled many bad versions it’s reassuring to see them being done so well in an authentic Italian restaurant right here in London. At the risk of sounding gushing; it is also very reasonably priced.
I first ate at Da Mario with some Italian colleagues and have returned on many occasions since knowing that despite the cosy size of the place, the owners will always manage to accommodate you, the service here is exceptional. A trusted and reliable Italian just around the corner from work, what more does one need? Another holiday there perhaps!
63 Endell St