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11 November 2013

review :: ponti's italian kitchen // london

when the good people at ponti's italian kitchen invited boyfriend and i to their oxford circus restaurant on wednesday night to help celebrate their 50th anniversary and indulge in their christmas taster menu, well... we didn't need to be asked twice, that's for sure. we headed straight over from work, famished, and were met by james, our server.

with a hint of an accent and full of pleasantries, he showed us to our booth and took our drink orders in a flash of teeth and wild arm gestures - he knew i was a pink wine connoiseur, and recommended the very nicest rose i've ever had; the lush costa fiorita rose, from the emilia romagna region. yeeeuuummm! from there we were delivered course after course (six in total!) of freshly and expertly made hearty italian food.

james' explanations of each course were enough to have us salivating before we even laid eyes on the dishes. he was not only full of knowledge of each dish, but you could see his real passion for the story behind both the local and italian sourced ingredients, and that he really, really loved his job - and wasn't even bothered when we didn't touch the first course of fresh olives and crisp bread. i just... no. what a lad. within minutes though,  we were tucking into a roasted butternut squash and parmesan encusted buffalo mozzarella on a bed of wilted greens. it was just delish! i'd never had mozzarella cold before, so that was a nice start.

next came the scallops wrapped in parma ham, served in garlic butter with a warm foccacia on the side. oh my. i luuuuhhhhve seafood, but boyfriend not so much. in fact, he'd never had scallops before, so the parma ham was an easy transition for him, and he really enjoyed dipping them - and everything that came afterwards, in the garlic butter. perfectly squishly, that course was definitely a favourite. following that was an antipasto platter of salami, coppa, parma ham, vine ripened and roasted cherry tomatoes, more olives (slippery little suckers ended up all over the floor!) and fresh parmigiano reggiano with some sardinian flat bread. boyfriend loves a meat selection, so what he disliked about the seafood he made up for in sliced meats.

 *apologies for the terrible pictures; i was having a low-light/flash/no-flash mare!*

we were then dished up a delicious fish stew; salmon, whiting, prawns and clams cooked through a light saffron and tomato sauce and served with the yummiest garlic bread i've ever had; a heavy dusting of cracked pepper was cooked into the garlic butter, and my my, it was a treat for a pepper lover like me! following the stew came a spinach and ricotta revionlini - an emilia romagna speciality! it was rich. rich and cheesey. in fact, the ricotta was cooked so that it was still crumbling around inside the little parcels of yum, and we could taste it long after we'd finished. little balls of ricotta in and around my gums! so good! i literally couldn't finish this course. by the time james brought it out, i was already stuffed; we weren't expecting so much food to be served to us!

we had to take a breather between the last main and the dessert. we considered passing on the dessert, but... what kind of person would that make me? i am the dessert person! so, a few minutes later we sat back and devoured our final course; warm italian doughnuts with acacia honey and italian vanilla pod ice cream.... yeah. it was to die for. james confirmed that the ice cream is made in house and can't be bought elsewhere, so now i need to go back just so i can have a bowl of that ice cream. it was immence! seriously! all of the exclamation!

before we rolled out of the restaurant we met with the manager robert, who asked us how our meals were. he was all of the friendly of james, but with an added irish accent - attentive and accented; my favourite! after a quick chat and enourmous thank you to robert and james for having us, we were handed some wee goody bags and walked to the door. people were looking around at us like we were celebs, it was so hilarious, but in hindsight, such an ego boost. i was looking around like, "what? don't you know who i am?" i kid! it was so fun though, to eat like kings and be treated like royalty, all in the name of a review!

well, here's my review; it was amazing. the food was indescribably delicious, and the service was outstanding. i highly recommend ponti's 50th anniversary menu, as would i their regular dinner menu as lookng over it, it sounds just as delicious. if you're hungry and lost for places to eat in london, ponti's is a wee hidden treasure just metres from the hustle and bustle of the high road. go in, and thank me later.

Add your comment

  1. That food looks delicious! Seafood is one of my all time favourites and those scallops look divine!



  2. Yum! Italian and seafood are my two favourites! xx

  3. Yum! seafood and Italian - my two favourites! xx

  4. Restaurant reviews are always such great reads! It's all sounds so lovely and the food looks like my idea of heaven. :-)


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