Via Emilia, Food Roots – Hoxton, London
Pasta holds a very special place in my heart. It’s literally my favourite thing in the world and when I have a great bowl of pasta, nothing else matters. All stresses and woes fall to the side and all I can think about is how damn good my pasta tastes, hoping that it will never end. I don’t tend to eat pasta out very often, as on a few occasions I have had disappointing experiences, wishing I had rustled up some of my own home cooking instead. Overcooked pasta and inflated prices can lead to such a disheartening experience. However, there are a few places I would happily put my hand into my pocket to pay for a plate of the best food invention ever. PASTA IS EVERYTHING!!
Some of you may have read my raving review of Padella when it first opened in early 2016. A great pasta restaurant where they proudly make and serve hand made pasta every day. I didn’t think it was going to be that easy to top Padella for a while. However, a new pasta kid is in town and has seriously turned my head and my belly.
Via Emilia opened in November 2017 by the guys behind Food roots . With so many Italian restaurants in the the UK, especially in London, their focus is to ensure authenticity at the highest level. Italian food as some of you may know doesn’t exist. It’s all about Italian regional cooking. Each region proud of its own dishes and recipes using local ingredients. Even within each region, different cities and towns have their own specialities. Not sure you could ever eat every Italian dish on offer in one life time – I’m giving it a good try tho.
The guys behind both Via Emilia and In Parma (their sister restaurant in Fritzovia) are highlighting the best of Emilia Romagna cooking, focusing on charcuterie, cheeses and pasta dishes, giving them a unique point of difference, helping them to stand out from the saturated Italian food scene. They also want to ensure that their customers have an enhanced experience by offering great quality and the best in flavour by directly importing their ingredients from small producers in Italy adding to its authenticity. More importantly they are proud of offering hand made pasta, which is freshly made on site using the same recipe and methods found in the region of Emilia-Romagna.
Before getting stuck into the pasta, I decided to start the meal with a little aperitif. I chose a charcuterie selection: beautifully thinly sliced Coppa, Parma ham and Felino salami which was served with a lovely creamy light cheese called Squacquerone and a softly fried light bread called Gnoccho fritto – a speciality found all over Emilia Romagna. No need to be fancy here and use cutlery. As suggested I just used my fingers to eat this amazing platter – just like they do back in Italy – making sure I didn’t leave a crumb of food. To round it off I was served a delicious glass of Lambrusco, a light sparkling red wine which matched the food perfectly.
The antipasti starter was so heavenly, I had forgotten that the pasta was the main reason for my visit. However, it wasn’t long before I was sat there with my pasta hat on, fork ready in hand. One of the things I instantly loved about the menu at Via Emilia was that each one of the pasta dishes came from a different city or town within Emilia Romagna. Highlighting how regional cooking can actually be within Italy. I wasn’t sure what to go for so I basically ordered nearly everything off the menu. Here is the running order of what I ate.
Turte vèird – Squared Ravioli filled with Spinach, Ricotta and Parmesan Cheese with butter and sage dressing (from Reggio Emilia)
Caplaz ad Zuca – Tortelloni filled with slowly cooked butternut squash and Parmesan Cheese with butter and sage dressing (from Ferrara)
Pisarei e Faso’ – Small wheat gnocchi with a rich tomato sauce and borlotti beans (from Piacenza)
Tajadlén’ni al pramzan e pep – Tagliolini with a delicate sauce made of parmesan cheese and pepper (from Parma)
Tajadèl bulgnaisi col rage – Tagliatelle with the official bolognese beef & pork ragù sauce recipe registered in 1982 (from Bologna)
Turtlèin in bride – Small tortellini filled with pork loin, mortadella, parma ham and parmesan cheese. Served in a rich hen broth (from Modena)
Each speciality made its mark and I was surprised at how good each dish was, trying one after the other. I found myself bouncing around in a cloud of pasta euphoria. I couldn’t have been happier. However, if I had to be pick my fave 3 dishes it would be the bowl of baby tortellini in broth, the tagliatelle in Bolognese ragu and the gnocchi in a tomato borlotti bean sauce.
To round off the meal, I chose the only dessert on the menu, the light tiramisu. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to eat another thing after so much food but after that first spoonful I knew I wasn’t going to be able to leave any behind. One of the best tiramisu’s I’ve had for a while and the perfect way to end such an emotional dinner.
So in a nut shell, if you’re a huge pasta aficionado like me, don’t wait too long and get yourself down to Via Emilia as soon as possible. I’ve already sent some friends to try and they too have given them a thumbs up. Not only is the food delicious, but the service is fabulous. Enriched with food knowledge, the guys at Via Emilia will give you an insight of how things are made and where they come from. Leaving you reeling and wanting to try everything and with their prices you could. Their pasta dishes range from £5.50 to £11, their meat platters are approx £10 and their bottles of wine, which again just come from Emilia Romagna, are reasonably priced. So all I have to say is ‘Bravi ragazzi’ to the guys at Via Emilia. You’ll be sure to see my face pop up now and again 🙂