It’s a pretty well-known fact that Italians love to feed people, and, as I discovered, the team at Eusebi Deli are no exception! Owned by Giovanna, the deli and restaurant focuses on high quality produce and authentic Italian food. Think hand made pasta, slow cooked meats, fresh pesto and more, so when they invited me down for a look behind-the-scenes, I couldn’t say no!
First stop was the ‘pinsa’ station. Pinsa literally means ‘to pinch’ and describes the method in which these ancient Roman pizzas are made. The dough is proved for upto 72 hours before being ‘pinched’ into shape. There are a range of flavours on the menu, but the simple focaccia style with olive oil, salt and rosemary is delicious and the dough incredibly light.
Next up, the pasta station! The chefs tend to make around seven different pasta shapes, with all of them using semolina to provide a richer flavour and a natural ‘bite’. There is a pasta machine on site, but cuts like pappardelle and agnolotti are all made by hand.
What struck me most, though, was the passion with which Giovanna and her team spoke about the menu and their produce, and it’s clear that her heritage plays a huge role in Eusebi Deli, and while you will find some familiar ‘Italian’ dishes on the menu, the focus here is on rich, authentic Italian flavours that go way beyond carbonara and Bolognese.
After our kitchen tour, we headed downstairs to the restaurant for our Italian feast, and when I say feast, I really mean it – I didn’t eat at all the next day because I was still full from the night before! The food covered all areas of Italian fare from their current winter menu, and while it was all delicious, there were a few dishes that really blew me away…
TRUFFLE SELECTION BOARD
If you want to start your meal with something a bit lighter, one of the cured meat boards is a great option. Selected from a Master Pork Butcher in the ancient town of Norcia in Umbria, there are two boards to choose from, but my favourite was definitely the truffle. Cooked ham scented with black truffle from Norcia, Parmesan glazed truffle salami & truffle pecorino is served with a piece of honeycomb and a spiced poached pear – divine!
RICOTTA WITH ROSEMARY AND HONEY
Ok so technically this isn’t on the current winter menu, but I have to talk about it because it was phenomenal. You’ll see fresh homemade ricotta back on the menu in the summer months when the milk is at its best, but this sneak peak was stunning. Served simply with roasted hazelnuts, chopped fresh rosemary and honey, the ricotta was a beautiful blend of sweet and savoury. The ricotta was creamy and light, the hazelnuts adding texture and toastiness.
BEEF AGNOLOTTI DEL PLIN
If you like rich dishes, this really hits the spot and is perfect for winter. Slow cooked beef is encased in pasta pillows, then served with winter mushrooms and beef jus, topped with parmesan and crispy sage. It’s so warming and comforting, and the beef inside the pasta tender and flavoursome. It’s very much a winter dish, so you’ll want to catch it now before the spring/summer menus start rolling in!
PAPPARDELLE CACIO E PEPE
You’ve probably heard of this one, pappardelle pasta served in a sauce created from cracked black pepper and Pecorino cheese emulsified in pasta water. So simple, but so delicious. Finished with seasonal wild mushrooms, the sauce is creamy, rich and peppery and ideal for fans of a traditional carbonara.
If none of these sound like your cup of tea, which, frankly, makes no sense, there are plenty of other dishes on the menu to choose from, whether it’s pasta, pinsa, risotto or gnocchi. Eusebi’s is a different experience to some of the ‘Italian’ restaurants out there, focusing on rustic, authentic Italian dishes made from beautiful produce, and it’s definitely worth a visit.