Acciuga, or Anchovy in the common tongue sounds like my kind of dream restaurant, a restaurant that takes it’s name from a small, pungent and often much aligned little fish. Now to be fair, I can’t quite come to terms with this American habit of including Anchovies on pizzas, and then complaining about said anchovy pizza in mainsteam media.
Acciuga is a small little Italian restaurant on Kensington High St specialising in food from Liguria, home of chef Guglielmo Amulfo and quirkily decorated with art from Andrea Andy Fumagilli, all available for sale and there’s even an exhibition coming shortly so watch that space.
The first order of the business is to partake in cocktails and snacks, Accigua has 7 signature cocktails and this particular one served in champagne glasses is called ‘Madness of Gold’. Homemade grape marmalade muddled with cognac, basil, orange and brown sugar. There’s basil sugar on the rim with little flecks of gold hence the title. This comes with breaded snacks, all the better for soaking up the booze. We have fried bread aka fritella with sage, fried grissini usually used to make breadsticks, but off cuts fried up for an aperitif thus minimising wastage in the kitchen. And for more bready wonder, Focacia Ligure, meaning that it comes laced with deliciously crispy fried onion.
Suitably sustained with snacks, we head into the tiny kitchen to watch chef Amulfo make his signature dish – poached eggs with black truffle. It’s an interesting and delicate operation and the thin shavings of truffle added are aromatic enough to scent the kitchen up. There are anchovy fillets ready to be fried and delicious smelling sauces and other unknowns are being cut, diced and stirred in the space.
Starters were a choice of either the poached egg or the anchovy and I’ve cut a cunning deal with my neighbour to allow for some sampling of each. The anchovies are very attractively presented to resemble the tins you find in supermarkets but could use a little bit more punch and zing to the taste to well, make them more anchovy like. These just taste like small fish with no wow to them. The poached egg on the other hand is fabulous and I quickly see why this is his signature dish – if only I’d pounced on this while it was still hot and oozing liquid golden yolk.
For mains, there’s a variety of options again to choose from and I chose the Pork & Beef Ravioli, which although toothsome, left me feeling rather hungry. There are some issues to be had here in terms of portions and the owners of the salt cod choice and slow cooked beef all complain of the same. Only two people in the entire group picked the basil pesto trofie and the smells emanating from this dish earned them a lot of lustful stares and hearty sniffs in their direction.
Dessert was a Pistachio Millefeuille which sadly in my haste of devouring, I didn’t take a photo of. It’s layered with light cream and raspberry and although it could use a little more on the raspberry front, it was a toothsome end to the meal. But that’s not counting the snack I ate on the way home to fill me up.
I was a guest of Zomato, but all opinions are, as always, my very own.