On the culinary front, we Londoners are pretty lucky and frankly quite spoilt. The choices of food and variety of restaurants available catering for every taste, and cuisines from all over the world are endless. Soon we’ll even be able to cure our hangovers without having to move from the comfort of our sofas, with the recently announced home delivery service by a famous fast food chain.
Finding a decent vegetarian and even vegan options these days no longer poses a challenge either. I remember when I first embarked on my vegetarian journey about 15 years ago – eating out was hardly an enjoyable experience. It was a choice between uninteresting medley of vegetables or a cardboard-like soya chunks and other meat substitutes. Whichever choice it was, it always met with rolling eyes and “why can’t she just eat meat like the rest of us” looks.
Thankfully those times have become a distant memory so we special dietary requirements folks no longer feel like aliens!
Anyone close to me knows I like a challenge – tell me I can’t and I will. To keep the spark going, I have recently gone gluten-free! Not out of ‘fashion’ but on advise of my nutritionist and some essential repair work that needs to be done to my digestive system (details of which I don’t want to share nor I should, dear Belles!).
For reasons aforementioned, I have not been eating out as much as I normally would. Following a gluten-free diet at home is not as hard as I anticipated, but eating out in restaurants – that’s another ballgame!
Hence rather nervously, I recently agreed to a three-course dining experience. I love Italian food and I couldn’t resist trying out a new addition to London’s dining scene – Enoteca Pomaio. Straight out of Tuscany, Enoteca Pomaio has found home at the top end of Brick Lane in East London, and I was eager to find out more. Being now a pescatarian and (temporarily) gluten-free, it was a risky move indeed.
We arrived soaked – it was one of those horrible rainy and windy evenings, umbrellas flying everywhere kind of a night. You get the picture. We sat by the window – my favourite place in any establishment. Apart from us there was only one larger group finishing up their meals, but I imagine this was due to the unfortunate weather situation.
There were punters popping in throughout the evening, either for a glass of wine or to purchase a bottle to take away, keeping the restaurant lively.
Enoteca Pomaio is run by two brothers from Tuscany – Marco and Iacapo Rossi. They are also the owners of an “award-winning” winery Podere di Pomaio and for the first time featuring their wines outside of Italy.
We were looked after by the restaurant manager Luca Degl’Innocenti with much attentiveness and Italian flair, who also happened to be “Tuscany’s top sommelier in 2013”. I was relieved that my mentioning of ‘gluten-free’ wasn’t met with any hint of hesitation or disapproval. In fact – Luca listed all the dishes that were or could be made without gluten.
I indulged in a starter of ‘Panino Tuna & Vegetables in Evo, Capers and Salad’ (on a gluten-free bun) and my dining companion ‘inhaled’ her prosciutto starter, which she pointed out, was cured to perfection. For main, I opted for light ‘Porcini and Pecorino Salad’ and my friend let me share some of her delicious ‘Octopus with Spinach and Sour Potatoes’. We both agreed it was the best octopus we have tasted. We finished off with servings of Panna Cotta and Chocolate Mouse – both kindly altered to fit with my diet.
The wines served in the restaurant come from small wineries in Tuscany supporting local growers and are organic and biodynamic, as well as sustainable. Not to mention excellent! We started with a rather delicious bottle of ‘Davide del Gaia, Alo’!, Toscana [IGT]’ which was refreshing and light. Before we knew it, we were down to our second bottle and approaching the closing hour. (How that happened still remains a mystery to me).
Enoteca Pomaio is a nice little addition to busy Brick Lane. The food was fresh, modern and innovative, and the wine selection is excellent and extensive! As they say in Italy, “In vino veritas”.
- For bookings visit www.enotecapomaio.com Location: Enoteca Pomaio, 224 Brick Ln, London E1 6SA; Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street or Liverpool Street