I do love a good pie. Whether it’s of the puff pastry variety or the old fashioned suet crust ilk, there’s just something about the thought of a buttery crust yielding into soft, meaty chunks of savoury comfort that drives me to distraction. Especially when it’s a bit parky outdoors.
Recently I’ve found myself haunted by Food Stories’ towering beauty, it seems to greet me at every turn. There I am, trotting along on the way to work or to meet pals and it’s there shining down at me like an old friend. As a result I’ve had full on pie-pangs on repeat in my pastry-addled mind like an unshakeably good tune. You know, the sort you’re afraid to listen to too many times in case you get sick of, but you can’t really help yourself.
When I interviewed Francesco Mazzei last summer, he tipped me off about a little-known place he sometimes likes to visit with his wife and daughter. Tucked away in a quiet side street behind the Sainsbury’s in Angel, Tenore is an authentic Sardinian restaurant, with a great little line in wood fired pizzas. Chef Roberto Tonzanu, who worked with Gennaro Contaldo at Passione for many years, has run this little gem in a refurbished Barnsbury pub for the past year.
The decor is all overblown black and white prints, burgundy banquettes, priapic pepper grinders and single roses on the table. It welcomes you in, in an unpretentious trattoria kind of manner. Images of the Sardinian flag greet the eye at every turn, and it’s an image I’m eerily fascinated by. It’s basically a St Georges flag with the severed head of a Moor in every quarter. This represents the execution of Moorish kings after the reconquest of the island in the 11th century and was updated 10 years ago. Now the blindfolds on their heads have been replaced with hip hop style bandanas – I have no idea what this represents but it makes me feel ever so slightly uncomfortable.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I suffer from a shameless weakness for anglo-asian dishes. Done properly, curried cauliflower cheese, masala-ed up mousakka, tandoori fried chicken- all of the above are pretty much guaranteed to make me come over ever so slightly herbal essences. So when Richard Vines, his adorable aunt and sister in law suggested trying out the City branch of Bangalore Express one blustery evening I was in.
As we descended into what can only be described as a visual migraine, the huge geometric black, red and white designs ensconced us like the wet nightmare of some coke addled 80’s interior designer.A gaggle of staff sweated anxiously into the bowl of papadoms placed before us – I was deeply impressed. Garlic is my MSG and this was the one and only highlight for me. The combination of a home made pickled garlic dip, all seductive smoky sauce and crisp greaseless papads was champion.