Today, Wednesday 7th January, marks the first All You Can Eat event of the year at Arancina on Westbourne Grove!
Run on the first Wednesday of every month, the concept behind this event is simple. Between 6pm and 10pm, ladies pay £10 and men pay £12 – and then you can literally chow down as much pizza as you can handle! (Drinks are charged separately.) This is a great way of cheering yourself up during these dark winter nights with some exceedingly tasty pizza – and a great way of saving money too, which is no doubt a handy thing in January!
Better still, Arancina’s pizzas have a special style of preparation and presentation which they say is unique to London, and sees people flocking to them from all over the city. Their pizzas are all ‘pizza alla palla’ – this means they are both cooked and served on a wooden board. Better still, they add a little bit of sugar to their pizza dough which makes it really crispy and delicious. Mmmm…!
Arancina also run a very popular Aperitivo event once a month as well. The next one of these is on 11th February, also at their Westbourne Grove branch, and brings to London a particular style of dining that’s extremely popular in Italy. You pay just £9 for your first drink (why not try something like a Negroni, or an Aperol Spritz), and then you can eat as much pizza and arancini as you can handle! Arancina’s Aperitivo nights were hugely popular in 2014, with locals and tourists heading to their restaurant from all around – as you can see from the images in this post.
Head down to Arancina tonight (or the first Wednesday of every month) for their All You Can Eat special, or give their popular Aperitivo night a whirl on the 11th February!
All You Can Eat at Arancina First Wednesday of every month – starts Wednesday 7th January 2015
This past Monday 15th December saw the grand opening of new pizzeria Tonda at 233 Portobello Road, giving locals the chance to try out many different varieties of Italian pizzetta during a special ‘open house’ day. From the first pizzetta fresh out of the oven at midday to closing at 11pm, almost 1,400 pizzetta had been given away!
A pizzetta is a smaller version of a pizza, sized at just 6 inches wide, and cooked to order using authentic Italian ingredients. Tonda’s traditional recipe for pizzetta – one that does not use animal fat, colourings or preservatives – has been handed down from father to son; this family-run business is originally from Pescara in Italy, where it was founded in the 1950s by Gabriele Ciferni. Gabriele’s son Riccardo, a well-known Italian entrepreneur, and his wife Laila Ciferni run four locations in and around Pescara, named Trieste Pizza.
Tonda on Portobello Road is the first location in the UK, and will give customers the chance to enjoy traditional Italian pizzetta either in the restaurant or to take away.
Local resident Marcia Leatham said:
“Located right on my own doorstep, luxurious urban crisp tasty street food. We are blessed with a new stylish gourmet pizzeria called Tonda. Situated in the heart of Portobello, Tonda combines authenticity and originality where we can meet and unwind.”
David Shahata, UK business partner of owner Riccardo Ciferni, said about the open day:
“We had a wonderful day – it was good to meet so many local people and introduce them to our pizzetta. It went down really well I hope that our takeout format will be a winner with those wishing to have a quick bite. We think that Portobello road is a great location for our pizzetta.”
Tonda is now open daily from 8am to 11pm, serving coffee, pastries, pizzetta and soup throughout the day. More on Tonda can be found at www.tonda.co.uk.
New pizza restaurant Bite Me Pizza opened yesterday on Westbourne Grove – bringing you a new concept in pizza making!
Gone are the days when you have to struggle to find your perfect pizza amongst the choices on a menu – no doubt thinking you’ve found something that hits the spot before finding it also contains your one food nemesis…be that olives, onion, anchovies or whatever. Now you can get a pizza crafted exactly as you’d like with all of your favourite toppings! (And none of what you hate!)
At Bite Me Pizza, you start off with a homemade dough base (made on the premises – which you’ll be able to see!) and tomato sauce, made from 100% of the highest quality Italian tomatoes. Then it’s up to you to choose from over 30 quality toppings, leaving you to mix and match to your heart’s desire to create the ultimate (or perhaps unusual?) pizza. The base (dough + sauce) is £4 and toppings range from £1 to £2 each, so you can also easily spend as little or as much as you like on your creation.
Toppings are divided into three different groups – “meat & fish”, “cheese” and “vegetables” – and you can choose as many or as few from each type with items such as pepperoni, pancetta, organic artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, camembert, feta, gruyere and gorgonzola all available. Toppings as sourced as locally as possible, with many from Britain but none coming from further afield than Europe. Bite Me Pizza say that there’s over 1 trillion possible combinations…phew!
For those that don’t like to make the decisions – and prefer to leave it to the experts – there’s also ten pizza “favourites” that you can choose from. These include the Posh Pizza which features creamy tomato sauce and mozzarella di buffala, bocconcini, prosciutto crudo, rucola, cherry tomatoes, parmesan flakes and truffle oil. For something a little different, why not try the Ladulina – mozzarella, smoked salmon, red onion, capers, cream and dill. An unusual pizza, but one that really works – I can certainly vouch for that!
Nothing’s better with a pizza than a cold bottle of beer, and Bite Me Pizza offer a range of London ones – as well as Italian wines, sold by the glass and by the bottle. There’s also salads, soft drinks and juices to choose from, and even desserts. The “chocolate” pizza sure sounds like a interesting concept at first, but you’ll soon find yourself wolfing down slices. (It’s essentially chocolate spread between two light dough-y bases, with a light sprinkling of sugar on top. Bliss.)
One of Bite Me Pizza’s key philosophies is to be as sustainable as possible. A large part of this is down to their very fresh ingredients, which reduces their carbon footprint. The whole restaurant was built to be as eco-friendly as possible; the interior has been designed with reclaimed UK timber and iron, with faux leather as some of the furnishing. Biodegradable cutlery (made from corn starch) is offered alongside recyclable pizza boxes; environmentally friendly cooking methods are employed which sees electric rather than gas ovens being used (which obviously don’t emit CO2 emissions into the air).
Open from 8am each day (with coffees and pastries in the mornings), Bite Me Pizza is open until 10pm each night except for Fridays and Saturdays when closing time is midnight. The restaurant offers both eat in and take away, with delivery a plan for the near future!
Bite Me Pizza is founded and co-owned by Chris Manessis, a 22-year-old eco friendly pizza-obsessive who grew up in Geneva but now lives in London. His aim is to create a sustainable chain of restaurants that will serve high quality, local and affordable food whilst also interacting with the community and helping those less fortunate.
Open since yesterday (16th June 2014), head down to Westbourne Grove to check out Bite Me Pizza and build your perfect pizza!
Bite Me Pizza 95 Westbourne Grove
www.bitemepizza.co.uk Do also check them out on Twitter
I was very pleased to be able to try out Notting Hill Kitchen earlier this week – the Spanish/Portuguese restaurant that is home to an equally smart tapas and cocktail bar too – for some delicious Iberian cuisine.
Housed in a rather impressive building (once upon a time converted from three Edwardian townhouses, no less) on Kensington Park Road just south of Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill Kitchen is a very welcoming space, something that’s matched by the attentiveness and friendly nature of the staff. It’s the restaurant’s bar area that you come to first upon entering, somewhere where you can perch up on the stools around the bar or by the high tables to settle in for a night of cocktails and tapas. And that’s how we started our night!
Sampling some of the most popular choices from the tapas menu – the spider crab, mini lamb burger and the ham and sour dough – I also chose the Black Cherry Cocktail as an accompaniment for the full tapas ‘n’ drinks experience; I was rewarded with an expertly made cocktail that went perfectly with our tapas.
All the tapas options are presented on rather smart black slates, making eating here a rather sleek affair! First to arrive was the spider crab in brioche buns which, with their rather round shape, were almost reminiscent of whoopee pies in presentation. Succulent chilled crab sandwiched in-between soft rolls – were this not tapas, I could have happily eaten more of these. In fact, it was only out of politeness that I stopped myself from devouring these whole, instead slicing them up politely. Next to arrive was the mac abrito (lamb mini-burger) which came as a decently sized burger patty with toppings of cucumber and coriander, complementing it well. Finally, we rounded things off with the tiborna, thin slices of ham draped over a half moon shape toasted sourdough slice, with bone marrow and a drizzle of truffle oil. In many ways, this felt like the most authentic tapas option we tried – I could imagine eating this perched at some seaside bar in Spain having a cold cerveza and watching the world go by.
We then moved on to sit in the restaurant proper, which we had already snuck a few glances at from our position in the bar. Although you can see the expansive space from outside, it’s still a surprise to see quite how large the restaurant area is once you enter. With muted greens, little decorative touches in and around the tables and plenty of wood detail throughout, it’s a relaxed but joyful setting for a meal.
Having already enjoyed the tapas a little too much, we skipped starters and went straight for mains. (Tapas options are also available as a starter in the restaurant proper.) I opted for the bacalhau com caldeirada – slow cooked cod – whilst my dining partner chose the mano a mano, confit pork cheek and ox tail, which was wonderfully presented with large roasted red onion slices and parsnip crisps. Pleasingly – unlike so many other places these days – mains do come with a decent side offering on the plate too, although there is of course a small selection of proper side dishes available as well.
My cod was wonderfully tender and fell apart easily when eating, its slow cooked nature really apparent. Caldeirada is a Portuguese fish stew, so the cod was set in a kind of broth that provided a delicate hint of the traditional dish. The side of kale – in sheep butter – was a welcoming ‘green’ on the plate and worked well with fish; rounding things off was the potato puree, presented in its own little pot, which helped soak up the juices and gave the whole dish a hearty and comforting impression. My choice of wine – a glass of crisp Portuguese Azeo wine – turned out to be a very fine tipple to have alongside this main.
Dessert? How could we could refuse? (In actual fact, we did have to be persuaded – but only because we were happily full by this point!) I had to ask what the pastel de nata was – it turns out that this is the traditional Portuguese egg tart, perhaps most commonly presented in a flaky pastry cup. By pure coincidence, I had picked one up at a Portuguese-run cafe in North London the day before (and thoroughly enjoyed it!); the thought of trying Notting Hill Kitchen’s deconstructed version was too tempting to not choose this dessert! This version was like a custard slice with a small delicate piece of pastry in the middle, and came with the usual pastel de nata accompaniment of cinnamon, here in ice-cream form, along with a few select choices of fruit. A reasonably light but oh-so-tasty choice to round up a very delicious meal.
All in all, a very enjoyable evening in a supremely sleek and comfortable setting in Notting Hill. I’d certainly recommend Notting Hill Kitchen as a option for dinner in W11, or for cocktails and tapas in their stylish bar. They also have a very tempting set lunch menu, and I can certainly imagine a weekend brunch here would be fantastic!