With so many restaurants and so much choice, its nice every now and then to escape the endless lists and enjoy yourself without having to over-think. A good example is the way that Italian’s dine. Most menus will offer a handful of crafted dishes, each made with love and care. Tourist restaurants can be recognised instantly by the lengthy over-crowding of meal options, offering so many dishes it’s a wonder how the kitchen could be master of them all.
Now this same focussed dining experience can be had in London at La Tagliata, an Italian kitchen that has been opened since August 2014 with a set menu of starter, main and dessert. Situated in a terrifically London-style cobbled-stoned back-street, for all its hidden exclusivity La Tagliata is only a 5 minute walk from the vibrant hustle and bustle of Liverpool Street station. This is the brainchild of ex-city banker Carlo Palumbo, a new-found restaurateur who gave up his high-flying job to follow his passion for food, hospitality and lifestyle.
Vegetarians are treated well at La Tagliata with the majority of sauces being meat-free; a choice of pomodoro, pesto or limone are served on fresh handmade pasta. Same goes for the main, a skilfully executed Scamorza – Italian cheese similar to mozzarella, stuffed with mushroom and truffle. My dining partner, who is a vegetarian, often feels fobbed off with vegetarian menu options, feeling like the choice is bland and not made with the same care as meat or seafood dishes. However at La Tagliata vegetarian dishes are made with as much importance as any other.
Meat lovers can choose a thick rich ragu sauce for their pasta starter, whilst the main is actually La Tagliata’s signature dish, thinly sliced steak on a bed of parmesan, cherry tomatoes and rocket, served with a balsamic reduction. Serving the steak already sliced is known as ‘tagliata’ in Italy, hence providing the restaurant with its name.
Accompanying the steak is a side of potatoes, a recipe from Carlo’s mother, potato cooked down in stock and mashed with a little garlic. La Tagliata has definitely managed to capture the magic that makes Italian cuisine so special. Every dish tasted fresh, well-balanced, full of flavour and cooked just right. For dessert I recommended the panna cotta with both strawberry and caramel sauce, it was truly memorable.
The master behind all the wonderful cooking is chef Antonio Tonello, who started his career working in Italian kitchens at the age of 13, and since has spent the last 25 years perfecting his passion by travelling and cooking in kitchens all over the world. Carlo and Antonio make a good culinary match indeed.
The clean white elegant appearance of La Tagliata is separated into various private dinning areas. Designed to look like an Italian villa (of the extremely wealthy kind), the space includes a dining room, cellar, library, music room, study and pantry.
Those with a keen eye for art will recognise the Modigliani paintings in every room, however rather than being the real thing, these pieces were commissioned to another artist who has used the famous painters work as inspiration, adding Carlo’s personal touches such as tongue-in-cheek text like ‘more wine, less whine’.
Because of the limited menu, La Tagliata is not a restaurant you will visit every night, however its winning formula elevates it to a dining experience you know you can go back to and trust.
La Tagliata: 11 Sandy’s Row E1 7HW
Tel: 0207 247 2818
Written by Justina Terese, Food Writer and Recipe Developer www.foodforaking.com