Sunday, 31 July 2011

Trattoria Nuraghe, Tufnell Park

Another little local gem discovered. Due to location, the Tufnell Park Spaghetti House grabs any passing custom and is always packed, wander a little further up Dartmouth Park Road though and you'll find Trattoria Nuraghe, a tiny and incongruous venue, serving hearty Sardinian dishes to a loyal bunch of diners.

One Saturday evening we remembered a while back somebody recommending the place to us, at 9pm we turned up without reservation on a rainy night and we had to wait a mere 10 minutes or so before the charming and wonderfully welcoming owner, Cristiana Curreli, seated us and poured us some wine.

To start we went for a parma ham and melted fontina plate with thin crisp breads. This was fantastic and I had major envy when my bruschetta with mozzarella turned up. It was a great dish but was completely outshone by the simplicity of a plate of ham and oozing cheese. Wonderful and a superb start. We shared some olives too.

The menu is split into pizza and other mains, those dishes are mostly fishy and I couldn't resist the seafood spaghetti with squid, mussels and prawns. The portions at Nuraghe are so generous I begin to notice most tables are taking their leftovers home with them in little plastic containers. An excellent sign that 1) I can expect a huge pile of steaming pasta and, 2) it will be so good that I will not be able to leave thinking any of it might go to waste. I wasn't disappointed, the seafood was excellent, the pasta cooked al dente and I was indeed beaten and took the rest home for lunch the next day.

Thomas' main was crab meat encased in cuttlefish ravioli with tomato sauce. He's been raving about this dish and about Nuraghe ever since and with such spectacular pasta dishes we will definitely be returning to explore more of the savoury menu.

For me the desserts were a let down given the standard of the previous courses. I had the zabaglioni which had the consistency of ice cream, I felt sure this had been frozen but the berry pannacotta was a better choice, wibbly and creamy, I think perhaps I was too full up to have enjoyed another morsel at this point.

One thing's for sure, Nuraghe is a wonderful find and we will be dining here for many years to come. Loved the hospitality, the hatch through to the kitchen where the chefs can be seen , the food and the location. With one final act of generousity, a free limoncello each, I almost felt like I had been whisked off to Sardinia, then I walked out to the street into the rain and fell dramatically back down to earth.

Trattoria Nuraghe
12 Dartmouth Park Hill
Tufnell Park

Trattoria Nuraghe on Urbanspoon


Dan Abel said...

I'm a regular at Nuraghe, close to home and, well, fabby. The zabaglioni is a frozen ice cream-y dish, and not the usual style, but we've learnt to love it after the surprise first time. I'm quite sure its not bought in.
The berry pannacotta looks good, never tried that.

Thanks for your blog BTW, good recommendations for Summer Rolls and Pho type stuff :)

amcn said...

I had read the reviews prior to booking - but we decided to chance it. Last night, we were greeted by 'if looks could kill', the ever assertive Italian waitress at Nuraghe. She was surprised to see us, as the restaurant was fully booked and she had no record of my reservation. After a lengthy discussion during which she argued, patronised and basically just repeated the same information, she decided that I must either be lying or that I had called a different restaurant by mistake. We probably should have walked, then and there. However, to prove a point, I pulled up the number on my iphone and showed her. She insisted that this was certainly not the number for the restaurant. So I dial up 0871 971 5623... to make sure I wasn't going crazy, and, sure enough, one of the staff answered the phone from the kitchen, directly opposite. I went up and confirmed that he had just spoken to me, nevertheless, the waitress insisted that this was still not their number! Obviously this was a pointless argument and in no way taking us closer to a resolution. Despite the fact that there were actually tables available, each staff member either fobbed me off, or refused to speak in English. The customers politely ignored us, as though it was a regular occurrence. Just as we were about to give up, I heard swearing, directed at me, and threats to call the police. Alas, it was not a customer, it was the angry chef shouting from the kitchen (probably the same one, as mentioned in previous posts). Needless to say, we didn't hang around for an encounter with this rather menacing character, or his large array of kitchen utensils. We did get a clap as we exited the place, so at least our evening was entertaining, not least. Unless you are looking to find a great idea for a new family sit-com, I wouldn't recommend this experience.