Emilia’s Crafted Pasta

It is no secret that homemade pasta is my absolute favourite thing to eat. So when I was notified about Emilia’s Crafted Pasta opening up in St. Katharine Docks I was keen to get along and try the food asap.

Emilia's Crafted Pasta

This charming neighbourhood eatery is tucked away amongst other food venues, all with a lovely waterside view of the docks. It is extremely convenient for nearby offices, who I imagine are delighted with this new Italian arrival, but is a bit of a trek if you don’t live or work in the vicinity.

I chatted briefly to owner Andrew Macleod and chef Simone Stagnitto about the inspiration behind the pasta bar and it’s offering. Together they hope to bring authentic and delicious homemade pasta to the city, the essence of Italian tradition, handcrafted in London.

Emilia's Crafted PastaEmilia's Crafted Pasta

The menu is short and sweet with a couple of starters and a range of pasta dishes to suit every palate. Parmesan balls were sadly off the menu when I visited so we settled for burrata with toasted ciabatta and extra virgin olive oil. It was, perhaps, the best burrata I have eaten in London, impossibly creamy and light, sprinkled with coarse black pepper and sea salt.

It was tempting to try one of each from the pasta list, but we restrained ourselves to three bowls between two of us. News of Simone’s exquisite pesto had reached me long before I visited Emilia’s so we had to try this simple dish. It was wonderful. We also ordered the bechamel bolognaise and the lamb ravioli. The bolognaise was indulgent and comforting, the perfect winter dish. Slow cooked for four hours the meat had a delicious depth of flavour, and I was pleased to see plenty of meat sauce coating the beautifully cooked pappardelle. The ravioli was filled with subtly-flavoured lamb and parsley, and then cooked in a light sage and butter sauce. I loved the filled pasta but felt the butter sauce could have been cooked for a little longer in order to give a more caramelised taste and crisp up the sage leaves. Emilia’s offer a few wine options, reasonably priced, and easy to drink with pasta.

Emilia's Crafted Pasta

For dessert we opted for lemon and polenta cake and affogato. The cake was our favourite, light and fragrant topped with flaked almonds, yoghurt and honey.

If you are in the area I would definitely recommend popping into Emilia’s for a delicious bowl of pasta. The restaurant also hope to offer pasta masterclasses too so you can learn the Italian secrets to help you make perfect pasta at home.

More information and book a table at Emilia’s Crafted Pasta here.

Bar Douro, Flat Iron Square

Thanks to chefs like Nuno Mendes, Portuguese food is now getting an opportunity to shine, with eateries showcasing this much forgotten cuisine all over London. Bar Douro is the latest noteworthy Portuguese restaurant to open, finding a cosy home in the Flat Iron Square foodie hub.

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I went along with a fellow food-obsessed friend to try out their speciality dishes. The restaurant is relaxed and atmospheric, with bar seats offering a view of the small kitchen. The blue and white patterned tiles reminded me instantly of days wandering round Lisbon’s pretty streets. Owner Max Graham was previously running supper clubs around London with Head Chef Tiago Santos. Max’s family have been creating Churchill’s Port in the Douro area of Portugal for centuries and his passion for Portuguese wine is evident from the thoughtful wine list.

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We were treated to a feast of the best dishes from the menu, including delicacies like Croquetes de Alheira and Octopus with sweet potato. The food was vibrant both in flavour and presentation. I loved the Chanfana rolls, bite-sized pieces of milk-fed lamb with a deliciously fragrant herb sauce. For something a little more decadent try the Roast suckling pig with homemade crisps, which is prepared and cooked to perfection with caramelised baby carrots and fresh orange. Not all the dishes worked… Bacalhau a Bras (Salted cod with scrambled eggs and chips) was bland and uninteresting, and sadly our Octopus tenticle arrived so charred it overwhelmed the subtle flavour of the seafood.

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I’ve never known much about Portuguese desserts, partly because I’m usually too full from main course to make it that far down the menu. At Bar Douro we were presented with three sweet plates, so I had a quick, and tasty lesson in this country’s pastry traditions. A delicate Abade de Priscos (Portuguese Bacon Pudding) was paired with wonderfully contrasting citrus sorbet and fresh orange. The second dessert, Bar de camelo was very sweet but delicious, made from condensed milk and topped with ice-cream and a shard of chocolate. And don’t leave without trying the fresh-out-the-oven Pastel de nata with cinnamon ice-cream, which works very well with a glass of the Churchill’s 10 Year Old Tawny Port.

It is lovely to see the arrival of new food ventures in South London and Bar Douro does a wonderful job of showcasing the best of Portuguese food and wine.

More information and book a table at Bar Douro here.

Tandoor Chop House, Covent Garden

It is difficult to find an Indian restaurant to suit everyone. I know some people prefer something upmarket and civilised (and head to Gymkhana), whilst others swear by the long-standing, cheap Indian restaurants that line Brick Lane, believing the food to be more authentic. I like a combination of the two, a comfortable but relaxed restaurant which offers Indian flavours at reasonable prices. And so I was delighted to discover Tandoor Chop House, which effortlessly ticked every box for me.

Tandoor Chop House

The stylish exterior had me immediately excited about what lunch at this new restaurant would be like. Inside, the black and white tiled floor and lavish red leather banquettes assured me further that this new eatery was worth photographing for more than just the food. We settled down at a beautifully lit corner table and ordered a couple of the speciality ‘Star of Bombay’ gin and tonics flavoured with orange, hazelnuts and mint.

Tandoor Chop House

The menu is full of exciting sounding dishes, Indian recipes with a twist of British influence. I always prefer to share an assortment of dishes when it comes to Indian food so I was relieved to find the portion sizes relatively small. Amritsari lamb chops were wonderfully aromatic and tender pieces of meat, the black dahl is a brilliant creamy and comforting vegetarian dish, and Bhaki onion rings are a irresistibly naughty snack. I found the paneer pieces rather too big, which sadly made the cheese rather bland, and the Tandoor broccoli, though delicious in flavour was quite tough to cut through.

Tandoor Chop House

I had been pre-warned about the delicious coal roasted pineapple, so despite feeling rather full we had to order one to share. It was delicious, a sticky and sweet caramelised piece of tropical fruit that was nicely balanced with a creamy honey ice-cream.

As we walked out of Tandoor Chop House I noticed how busy and jolly the rest of the restaurant was… with food this tasty I’m sure the popularity will continue to grow at this charming new Indian eatery.

More information and book a table at Tandoor Chop House here.