Polenta, God’s gift to the gluten free brigade and Italy’s secret staple finally has its own restaurant in London. Well, Polenta isn’t such a secret only that the rest of the world are more aware of pizza and pasta when it comes to Italian cuisine than they are of polenta. Anyway, the corn flower power house was tipped as one of the trends to watch in 2014. I visited La Polenteria recently with my partner in crime and fellow writer and photographer from Taste Britain to sample their exclusive dishes based on polenta.
La Polenteria is located on Old Crompton road in Soho and the quaint restaurant does get a lot of attention thanks to the delectable polenta deserts they display in the window.
The restaurant itself is quite simple with a laid back atmosphere. It is dimly lit with blackboards on the walls explaining the process of making a polenta. Furnished with simple, plain wood tables and chairs; it marries the modern and the rustic in a very pleasant way. Also, the high shelves with old books and ‘paioli’, the copper pots traditionally used to make polenta and its sauces, makes the interior more interesting.
La Polenteria is opened from 8 am to 11 pm so it serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The breakfast menu include polenta Muffins, Creamy Polenta with Blueberry & Maple Syrup, or Raspberry & Mascarpone, and Polenta Cupcakes. There is also coffee; one of Italy’s best, the organic Chiaroscuro from Mokaflor.
The lunch and dinner menu has vegetarian, fish and meat options. Dishes include Sicilian Caponata, Salt Cod, Gorgonzola & Walnuts, Wild Boar, Goulash and Tuscan Sausages with Borlotti Beans to mention a few. An average spend is between £15 and £20 per head.
One the night, I tried Tuscan sausages with borlotti beans, wild boar, all on a base of polenta of course. For salads, we had Parma ham with pecorino cheese, artichokes and rocket and smoked Scottish salmon with artichokes, rocket, olives and oranges and for desserts we shared a bloody orange and almonds polenta cake.
I can’t say I was a big fan of the Parma ham with pecorino cheese, artichokes and rocket salad but the Tuscan sausages with borlotti beans, wild boar on polenta was very moreish and filling. I must admit the desert was probably the highlight of my night. The bloody orange and almonds polenta cake was rich, moist and oh so delicious.
La Polenteria is definitely leading a trend, I don’t believe there is a restaurant dedicated to just gluten free meals. The restaurant’s ever evolving menu is perfect for people suffering from coeliac disease. While most people don’t generally seek out gluten free meals unless they have to, La Polenteria is definitely worth a try if you are looking to try something different or looking for a delicious dessert.
(Photographs by Jack Oughton / tastingbritain.co.uk)
3/5* (Loved the desserts)
La Polenteria, 64 Old Compton St, London W1D 4UQ
4/5 exceeded expectations
3/5 met expectations and was very pleasant
2/5 did not meet expectations