On The Menu: Saporitalia's gnocchi; Glenilen Farm's Handmade Country Butter; Vice's online cookery show; Bulldog gin; Nobu
This week I've been eating... Saporitalia's gnocchi
Saporitalia, the dinky Italian on London's Portobello Road, is just about the kindest restaurant I've ever rested my elbows in. My half hour lateness (yes, I know – but I plead the tube) and sweaty, gasp-punctured explanation, was greeted with... a glass of prosecco.
Sitting down they then brought some miniature bruschettas to the table. We then took frankly ages to decide what we wanted. Out came some zucchini fritti, which were blow-your-socks-off good, crispy, steaming and lovely. This hurried us – thoughts of bankruptcy courts and weeping children in mind.
I went for the gnocchi in tomato sauce with fior di latte (cow's mozzarella). It's a simple, unfussy dish – and they did it beautifully. The wood-fired stove made the cheese into little molten islets and the tomato sauce was pitched just nicely between sweet and earthy.
It was as hot as lava and I would have happily have eaten another. Go, but please, try not to be late.
What a spread
From Glenilen Farm in County Cork this Handmade Country Butter comes as a delightfully large pat, wrapped in greaseproof paper and tied with a piece of oh-so-rustic-looking string. It's not all presentation, though – it has a fabulously rich and creamy taste and is the ideal companion for a crusty loaf. The butter tastes so good, its producers claim, because its dairy cows are allowed to roam free on the banks of the river Ilen, enjoying its rich, nutritious grass. Lesser brands take note. Glenilen.com, £2.79 (250g)
Hipster manual Vice is a sprawling enterprise these days. As well as putting out the magazine and sending out correspondents to war zones, it's now started an online cookery show. Fronted by Joanna Fuertes-Knight, it's called Girl Eats Food, and is aimed at the "stupider, drunkenier end of home cuisine", which you can assume means 16-to 24-year-olds. The films have that annoying Nigella-esque hand close-up tic, but apart from that it's cool. Luther Vandross slider, anyone? Vice.com
Does the world need another small-batch gin? Especially one called Bulldog (British bulldog, geddit?) and dressed, bottle to base, in jet black. Every fibre in my body wants to say, "no, no, thanks, we're quite alright without it". But, actually, when you taste it, it's pretty decent, unusual even.
I'm not sure about the marketing bumf's claim that it's the "world's most mixable gin" but its flowery, liquorice tang, and all-round creaminess, makes it eminently drinkable. Just make sure you hide the bottle. £25, waitrose.com
It's been a pricey week in food. First Tim Allen of Launceston Place produces a scotch egg for the Taste Festival which costs £500 and has a coat of gold. And now, to celebrate its 15th birthday, Nobu is offering a takeaway bento box made from Mr Nobu's favourite dishes. The cost? A cool £250. Has the Perrier gone to their heads, as Morrissey once sang?
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