Sunday, 12 September 2010


Demon Cook loves to cook, but Demon Cook also loves to dine out, especially in the company of good friends and fellow foodies. In a role-reversal, my regular dinner guests Jacky and Nick, hosted supper on Friday. The theme was Venice, the wine was, appropriately, Pinot Grigio, the food was delicious, varied and plentiful, and a fine evening was topped off with a hard-fought game of Scrabble (Nick won - again).

Inspired by Italian 'tapas' (is there an equivalent word in Italian for tapa? There must be.....) eaten at Soho bar and "bacaro" Polpo (the premises was once the home of Italian painter, Canaletto), Jacky produced a wonderful starter of chickpea and anchovy crostini, and green beans with mozzarella and toasted hazelnuts, both dishes bursting with interesting and unusual flavours, and combinations of flavours. For the main course, we ate fennel risotto, which was perfectly cooked, with just a little bite left in the rice and a lovely creaminess. We all concurred that one could not possibly omit the pancetta (which would make the dish vegetarian-friendly). For pudding, Nick made a rich Tiramisu, that cliched-yet-wonderful pudding of marscapone and boudoir biscuits soaked in marsala. Unable to find boudoir biscuits in the local M&S, Nick used almond fingers which gave the pudding a really lovely twist. We ate and drank far too much, but that did not deter us from clearing the table and reaching for the Scrabble board, whereupon Nick reprised his Scrabble triumphs of Ireland and beat us, fairly and squarely.

Polpo is at 41 Beak Street, London W1

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