Bombetta, Snaresbrook

I recently visited Puglia, so I was delighted to hear about Bombetta, who are bringing this Southern Italian cuisine to London.


The restaurant is located in Snaresbrook, just seconds from the tube station. The name, ‘Bombetta’, refers to a traditional Puglian dish of wrapped meatballs. The farm workers would get the meat from the local butchers before returning home to wrap the meat with cheese and cured meat, cook it and share with the community.

Bombetta has a lovely relaxed neighbourhood feel, with colourful pictures on the walls and Italian produce adding to the fun decor. I was visiting for lunch with one of my oldest pals, also a keen foodie, and we arrived ravenous and ready for a feast.


The menu is split into several categories, and considering the small size of the restaurant, I was impressed with the assortment of dishes. Our first course arrived gradually: plump green olives, salty rich pig’s head on toast, gooey indulgent burrata with sun-dried tomatoes and pesto and tender slices of veal with anchovy sauce. It was a joy to have a table of contrasting dishes to pick at, and I imagine the tapas style of dining would particularly suit a big group of friends eating together. A wine flight of Puglian organic wines matched the flavours and captured the mood of the meal.


Main courses were rather more substantial… The perfectly cooked orecchiette pasta (a classic Puglian variety) with wild mushrooms and truffle butter was moreish and delicious, a comforting and Autumnal recipe which led us to fight over the final mouthfuls.

Make sure you leave space for the Bombette; we tried the Pork with spicy pancetta, scamorza, nduja and basil, flavoursome and spicy meat served with toast and fresh salad.


The pannacotta with basil sorbet and figs was a light and refreshing dessert. A few hours of eating, drinking and gossiping later and we were ready to make the lengthy journey back to central London. For those that live nearby I imagine Bombetta is a real asset to the area, for me it was a pleasant reminder of my blissful few days on the Italian coast.

More information and book a table at Bombetta here.

Things to do in Puglia

I’ve visited the major cities of central and north Italy, and feel like I know the culture and cuisine relatively well… but the rural region of Southern Italy was completely unknown to me. I’d heard fellow travel fanatics talk about the growing trend to visit Puglia, the less visited part of Italy which is known for centuries-old olive groves, whitewashed hill towns and crystal clear sea. The reality was even more idyllic than it sounds.

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To stay

Masseria Trapana – Located on the outskirts of Lecce and surrounded by sixty hectares of ancient olive groves. Rob Potter-Sanders has transformed a derelict 16th farmhouse into one of the most luxurious hotels in Puglia. There are ten sumptuous suites to choose from, each with a grand four-poster bed and giant bathtub.

Masseria Moroseta – This stunning, minimalist bed & breakfast is found on the outskirts of Ostuni, and feels like it was built with Instagram in mind. The contemporary masseria was designed by Andrew Trotter and is set around a central courtyard, with six charming bedrooms, a beautiful pool and lovely common areas to enjoy.

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To eat

Cielo – Tucked away in the Ostuni maze of white streets is the enchanting Cielo restaurant, inside the luxury hotel, La Sommita. Sit down for lunch and you will be treated to lots of little surprises throughout from foie gras chocolates to aperol liquid sweets. The plates of pasta are refined and delicious and the innovative Egg and Flour dessert is not to be missed.

Cremeria alla Scala – The best gelato in Ostuni. There are several branches of this ice-cream parlour in Ostuni, pop in for a cone of the speciality flavour, Sant’Oronzo (almond and mandarin).

Il Principe del Mare – Cheap and cheerful this basic seafood restaurant is found at the sea’s edge in Fasano. The family-run eatery offers the freshest fish straight from the ocean, while you sit watching the waves crash to shore.

Angelo Sabatelli Ristorante – There are only a handful of good fine dining restaurants in Puglia. Angelo Sabatelli is among the best, serving up inventive recipes based on the traditional dishes from Puglia. The Orecchiette pasta with 30 hour cooked meat ragu and canestrato cheese fondue is a triumph… Puglian cuisine at its very best.

Il Cortiletto – Located on the edge of Ostuni this neighborhood restaurant is a favourite with locals and tourists alike. The courtyard dining room has a lovely atmosphere and serves simple but authentic anti-pasti, pasta and wood-fired meats.

Gelateria Natale – Universally referred to as Lecce’s best gelato, Gelateria Natale is always busy and has enough flavours to satisfy everyone. I tasted the ricotta and fig and rum baba flavours which were both creamy and delicious. There is also a range of traditional Italian confectionery.

Places to Visit


Matera – This ancient town carved into the canyon is famous for its cave dwellings, known as the sassi. This World Heritage site is unique and enchanting, transporting you back to centuries ago.


Otranto – This historic town is on the east coast of the Salento peninsula. Visit the Romanesque cathedral to see the twelfth-century mosaic and if its hot take a dip in the crystal clear turquoise waters.


Lecce – One of the largest cities in the Apulia region Lecce is known for its magnificent baroque buildings. Visit the amazing Cattedrale di Lecce and the Basilica di Santa Croce, before cooling off with a delicious ice-cream from Gelateria Natale.


Gallipoli – The lazy town of Gallipoli has fantastic beaches and a charming historic old town to explore.


Alberobello – Although touristy it is worth visiting Alberobello to marvel at the amazing trulli, a traditional Apulian dry stone hut with a conical roof. Head a cafe with rooftop seating for the best panoramic views.


Polignano a Mare – Perched on top of a limestone cliff, Polignano a Mare offers a dramatic coastline and a beautiful beach in the centre of town. Wander round the streets and grab lunch in a local cafe before soaking up the sun.


Monopoli – This quaint town is centred around a lovely fishing port. Charter a sailing boat for the day, and sail up the coast to the St Stefano monastery where you can admire the amazing caves and take a dip in the azure Adriatic sea.

Masseria Trapana, Puglia

After a few days in Southern Italy I began to adapt to the slow pace of life and became accustomed to my beautiful surroundings. For the final stop of our Puglia tour we drove our little Fiat 500 hire car down to Lecce, for a two night stay at Masseria Trapana.

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This boutique hotel took my breath away. When owner Rob Potter-Sanders bought the 16th century farmhouse a few years ago it was in ruins and had been neglected and untouched for over 100 years. After extensive rebuilding and sensitive renovation works, the hotel opened for business in October 2015, complete with the original olive press and the chapel of Santa Barbara, where the old frescoes have been restored.

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Masseria Trapana is set amongst sixty hectares of ancient olive groves and has six gardens in the hotel grounds, where fruit and nut trees produce an abundant crop each year. Every corner has been carefully considered, with charming decor and furniture making it a blissful place to walk and spend time in.

There are just ten suites which gives the hotel an intimate and special feel, and there is also the option of renting out the whole masseria exclusively as a private villa, on a weekly basis, for special occasions.

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We were extremely comfortable in our very spacious and airy Garden Suite. The design is similar in all the suites, a subtle cream colour scheme with accents of red. All the furniture chosen is of the finest quality, and a luxurious four poster bed is topped with lovely bespoke linen.

A small private garden brings light into the room and also provides the perfect place for a giant bathtub, so you can bathe outdoors beneath your own orange tree, which has the most exquisite floral scent.

The bathroom was a sanctuary of honey-hued stone and indulgent features. Kitted out with a powerful rain shower, dual sinks and chic striped towels. I was more than excited to discover our bathroom stocked with Aesop miniature toiletries – my favourite beauty brand from Australia.

Masseria Trapana

If you decide to spend your days at the hotel, the pool is a lovely place to unwind and soak up the sun. For day excursions there are plenty of charming towns nearby to visit. Lecce is the closest, just a 15 minute drive away, slightly further afield you will find picturesque coastal villages like Gallipoli and Otranto. The helpful staff at Masseria Trapana will help you plan every aspect of your Puglian itinerary so you can make the most of this enchanting area.

Masseria Trapana

Local restaurants can be hit and miss in this area, so after a few nights exploring the culinary options in Lecce you may prefer to enjoy a leisurely dinner at the hotel, where local chef Maria Carla serves up delicious traditional dishes. We enjoyed the flavoursome speciality ‘Trapana’ pasta dish and a perfectly cooked piece of chicken wrapped in parma ham. For dessert, I was delighted to be served panna cotta, one of my all time favourite Italian puddings. Wine from the region is served with dinner, or the waiters will make you an aperitif of your choice.

Breakfast is always served outside, in the dewy morning light beneath the trees. A buffet of continental treats includes traditional pastries, fruit, meats and cheese. Being Australian, Rob caters specially for his guests from down under with lamingtons (sponge cake coated in chocolate and coconut) and vegemite! Don’t miss the fresh juices made from the citrus trees that surround you.

Masseria Trapana

Masseria Trapana is a paradisiacal retreat in the idyllic Puglian landscape… as soon as you’ve visited once you’ll be planning annual return visits to this magical home away from home.

More information and book a stay at Masseria Trapana here.