It seems there are more and more reasons to visit Stoke Newington, a hip area of East London which is thriving with stylish neighbourhood hangouts. Wolf Restaurant serves seasonal Italian food in a beautifully designed dining room.
As I sat in the moody green room, with its hexagonal-tile floor and live wall of plants, I picked out features I’d like to add in to my flat. The tables, of course, are white marble, to help food instagrammers get the best possible shot.
The menu included all my favourite Italian things: burrata, homemade pasta and rabbit. Wolf have recently introduced their new winter menu which features a range of comforting classics. We sampled the burrata with Puntarelle & Anchovy dressing with croutons, and the Pear & Bra salad. The burrata was a blissfully simple dish, but made with the finest ingredients, the cheese was creamy and oozing with indulgence with a contrasting salty dressing. The Pear salad reminded me of the warmer seasons, a lovely mix of bitter endive leaves, sweet honey mustard vinaigrette and a crunch from the hazelnuts scattered on top.
The Pappardelle with braised rabbit ragu & chestnut has become the IT dish at Wolf, and luckily it did not disappoint. Strands of perfectly cooked homemade pasta were coated in a rich meaty sauce, and chestnuts were an unusual but brilliant addition. Priced at £16 a plate it is an expensive plate of pasta, but was a generous portion. The Gnudi (spinach and ricotta dumplings) was a more elegant plate of food, coated in a a parmesan sauce and decorated with crispy sage and roasted tomatoes… I found this dish less exciting and felt it needed some freshness to balance with the creamy sauce and rich dumplings.
I would pick pasta over meat anyday, but in Italy they eat both so in the name of research we tasted two dishes from the secondi section of the menu too! Slow cooked beef short rib was richly flavoured with Chianti, and the tender meat fell easily away from the bone – it was served with velvety wet polenta and gremolata. The pork fillet was a little dry for my taste, but was served with an assortment of lovely ingredients: Delica Pumpkin puree, chanterelle mushrooms and kale.
Desserts are often an afterthought in Italian restaurants, who fob diners off with gelato. Wolf exhibit true attention to detail in the sweet section of their menu. I was overwhelmed by the two sensational desserts we tried. Panna cotta with poached rhubarb and honeycomb was a beautiful plate of seasonal flavours, the rhubarb was nicely cooked with sugar to add sweetness and the panna cotta was the ideal consistency, flavoured with plenty of specks of real vanilla. Mandarin Flourless polenta cake was also wonderful, a light and textured cake flavoured with mandarin and dripping in chocolate ganache sauce.
I’m not sure there is anything better than delicious Italian food, and Wolf Restaurant is an asset to the Stoke Newington area. I live in South London but would travel for 40 minutes on the overground to eat a plate of that rabbit ragu any day of the week.
More information and book a table at Wolf restaurant here.