QH heads to East London to try some indulgent Italian food inspired by Francesco Mazzei’s upbringing in southern Italy…
Acclaimed Italian chef, Francesco Mazzei, has returned to lead the kitchen at this year’s famed House of Peroni and on an usually sunny day in late May I made my way to be guest of his private dining table. Having recently been appointed Chef Patron at Sartoria in Mayfair, Francesco has returned to East London in partnership with arguably Italy’s best beer export.
The pop-up sits on the canal and as myself and guest make our way to the entrance we see an open air pizza oven sat along side a gentleman scooping up generous bright balls of ice-cream. The outside courtyard is full of stylish young (one assumes) professionals, enjoying a beer alfresco. As we walk through the glass entrance doors, immediately ahead is a bar manned by three extremely dapper gents, ready to talk us through the cocktail menu devised to convince you that Peroni and cocktails do, in fact, belong in the same sentence.
To ensure these cocktails are every bit as delicious as the food we are about to devour, House of Peroni have asked Simone Caporale to return as the Master of Mixology. Inspired by his love of Italian ingredients and the passion he holds for the Italian way of life, his drinks reflect the daily rituals in his home in Lake Como.
Our first in a string of delicious beer based cocktails was the Baba Dolce, a sweet and sour mix of vanilla and toffee infused rum with cherry liqueur and Peroni, blended with egg white, and the Sorbetto Spritz which was topped with orange sorbet and an olive. We would later realise that treating ourselves to a pre dinner cocktail was a rookie mistake here in the House, as the many courses, soon to be unveiled to us, come complimented by one of Simone’s concoctions.
After soaking up the ground floor and our first cocktails, we walk up the blue stairs which lead to a long horseshoe shaped table which circles the chef’s prep area. The table sits under a brightly coloured forrest of vines and is surrounded by potted trees. As soon as we get to our seats, the host for the evening explains the menu and ensures we will not be leaving the table hungry.
Soon a series of dishes are served in front of us, just in time for us to get to know our neighbours for the evening. The friendly couple next to us, Ruth and Jeremy, live in the area and decided to take a day off from parent duty to enjoy a trip to Italy.
We all share Mazarra prawns with cucumber hand picked crab salad, and artichoke, avocado mousse, sun blushed cherry tomatoes and Grana Padano Sicilian smoked aubergine, with fresh pesto. The burrata I try to conceal to enjoy for myself but unfortunately my guest for the evening forces me to share.
For my main, I enjoy signature home cured baccalà marinated in liquorice, charred lettuce and tropea onion and my veggie guest has a dish of soft Corvino polenta with wild mushrooms, hazelnut and spring truffle. He begrudgingly lets me try some from his plate, which makes me wish I had chosen veggie for this course - the dish I did choose is soon finished off.
The feast of food climaxes with a selection of scrummy deserts, my favourite being puff pastry, lemon cream and crumbled pistachio. With our bellies full we say goodbye to our host and neighbours and make our way to work off our food with a walk along the canal.
You have until 1st July to get your tickets to try some delicious Italian food in a superb atmosphere with some very delicious cocktails.
QH RESTAURANT REVIEW:
House of Peroni
by Calum Donoghue, 14 June 2016