Peter Morrell and his wife are transported to this beautiful island for the evening by the vibrant flavours of the food in this restaurant which offers authentic Sicilian cuisine
Enzo Oliveri is a chef with a wealth of experience and he is passionate about sharing his love for the food of his home, Sicily. I’ve met Enzo a couple of time before at events promoting Sicily including him overseeing a pop-up kitchen sponsored by the Italian Tourist Board.
Having enjoyed samples of his food it was time to have a full meal in his West End restaurant Tasting Sicily Enzo’s Kitchen.
The décor of the restaurant had a bright, uplifting feel and there are some very vivid artworks on the wall. The menu reflects the fact that Sicily has played host to many different cultures over the centuries and they have all left their mark particularly on the cuisine, Starters included calamari, Enzo’s signature prawns, Arancina (stuffed rice balls) del Commissario Montalbano and Parmigiana Sicilian style with aubergines.
We sipped on draft Peroni beers as we made our choices from the menu. To get a taste of everything we chose the ‘Tasting Sicily’ antipasto to start. This was an impressive and attractive platter, there were two types of salami, one with warming spice, two cheeses, one with herbs and the other with chilli. The line up continued with caponatina a variant of caponata, sweet and sour pumpkin, red and yellow peppers, olives, tapenade bruschetta, artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes.
This dish was a mosaic of colour, aroma, taste and texture with rich powerful flavours that evoked the culinary history of the island.
The menu continued with salads and in this section Chef Enzo’s Signature Sicula looked intriguing, Sicilian orange and crunchy fennel salad with red onion, black olives, oregano and mint. There were primi piatti of pasta and risotto, Sicilian mains like Enzo’s Signature Girella di sogliola, sole spiral with asparagus, smoked salmon and Syracuse lemon sauce, served with salad. Sides were also on offer like a typical spring dish from Palermo, featuring broad beans, peas, artichokes and mint.
My wife’s chose her main from the list of Sicilian dishes, the Involtini di Pesce Spada, Sicilian swordfish rolls and my main was the Risotto al Nero di Seppie. My wife’s dish was excellent, the swordfish was stuffed with breadcrumbs, pine nuts and raisins and served with salad and a buttery, lemony salmoriglio sauce. The fish had lots of flavour with extra interest being added by the stuffing and the classic Sicilian sauce.
My risotto was cooked with Enzo’s black ink sauce and loaded with chopped cuttlefish and it had a touch of chilli to give it a piquant character. The taste of this came from ancient history, one can imagine it being eaten eons ago by Archimedes who was born in Syracuse. It was profound, precise and a pleasure to eat.
The wine list had numerous Sicilian wines, my wife’s glass of white produced by Planeta was an aromatic blend. It showed tropical fruit aromas on the nose which were joined by peaches on the palate. The acidity was well balanced and the finish was bright and fruity. I had a glass of the Principi di Butera Nero d’Avola. This had bramble notes in the bouquet, the palate was filled with concentrated red stone fruit and hints of smoke, soft tannins gave it smoothness and the finish was long and persistent.
The portions of the first two courses had been large so desserts were almost beyond us. There were a number of decadent delights listed like Cannolini Siciliana, a tasty tube filled with ricotta, Cassata Siciliana with its marzipan and candied fruit and Semifreddo alle Mandorle with agrigento almond parfait and hot chocolate sauce.
My wife could only manage a decaf cappuccino but I found room for affogato, vanilla ice cream ‘drowned’ in a shot of hot espresso coffee, one of my favourites.
We finished with a glass of Passito, a highly concentrated wine made from dried grapes, this method of producing complex sweet wine has been used in Sicily for more than 2000 years.
This was an exceptional meals that gave us the chance to taste genuine Sicilian food in London, it certainly heightened our interest in visiting the island. Enzo is committed to showcase the best of Sicily, not just the cuisine but its natural beauty and rich history. Enzo has shared with us his pick of ‘Top Five Sicilian Places you have to visit’, you can read about them here…
Tasting Sicily Enzo’s Kitchen
38 Panton Street
Piccadilly London SW1Y 4EA
+44 (0)20 78395142