ITALIAN FOOD WITH AUTHORITY - MANTECA, LONDON
Sales of Italian food is up, which is no surprise in these times of uncertainty. Consumers are leaning towards what they know, seeking out simple, satiating goodness, and Italian food is the pinnacle of comfort food. So it's no surprise that Simul per Cibum Supper Club was hosted in Manteca this month.
Simul Per Cibum is a new kind of food industry Supper Club, founded by Charles Banks & Wayne Edwards, founders of The Food People and hosted in a different venue each month in London.
Manteca is a collaboration between David Carter, best known for his deep-glazed barbecue cuts of Smokestak, & chef Chris Leach.
The menu is a nose-to-tail Italian in London’s Shoreditch. It is warm & inviting, full of atmosphere, including a glass-walled hanging cabinet for all the cured meats made on site, and most importantly, its centred around delicious Italian flavours that take you on the most incredible journey through Italy.
The parade of small plates came promptly and kicked off some wonderful conversations of the joy that simple food brings to us all. The bitter leaf salad with Pear & gorgonzola was refreshingly delicious and the Ricotta & cime di rapa was a perfectly paired combination.
The pasta dishes were incredibly simple in presentation but the depth of flavour was the subject of more conversation about how sometimes comfort and simplicity wins over above anything else.
The main courses were meat heavy, each one delivering exquisite texture and depth of flavour. The porchetta was perfectly crisp on the outside, with a fragrnat and mouth watering fennel, onion & garlic filling.
Leaving little room for dessert, but hard to resist the comforting aroma of baked cherry & almond cake with vanilla gelato
Top dishes for me included:
Ricotta with cime di rapa (a sweet & slightly bitter brassica) a stunningly beautiful pairing
Pasta, brown crab and cacio pepe (the perfect pepper boost and delightfully deep savoury kick from the crab) plate lickingly good
Porchetta - perfectly crisp on the outside with a fragrant and mouthwatering fennel, onion, and garlic filling.
Amerena cherry & almond cake with vanilla icecream. Simple, comforting and every spoon a pure joy.
A lovely evening with fabulous company, coupled with supporting a great cause Chefs in Schoools, who are doing fantastic work to improve food quality, health and education for children and young people.