Strazzanti Supper Cub at Hackney Coffee Company: A Sicilian family feast worthy of a lasting legacy
London has always been – and remains – full of surprising pockets hosting the most amazing cultural events. The food scene is no exception as it traverses wildly through the capital in forms of Michelin-starred restaurants, pop-up dinners and innumerable spectacular fusions. Some places last, some aren’t even meant to, but this is, by far, one of the great joys of this ever-changing metropolis. Chef Emilia Strazzanti captures something quite magical about the way the city works. Her new supper club pairs up her Sicilian roots with an east-end community, and by collaborating with suppliers from this neck of the woods she literally transforms her temporary residency at Hackney Coffee Company into a sort of Sicilian family feast.
Greeting the guests warmly, the chef starts the festivities with rosemary-laced cocktails. Their slightly savoury note nicely sets off the canapés that start circling the room. Shards of bread topped with Capuliato sun-dried tomatoes, fresh ricotta and a sprig of basil are devoured as quickly as they arrive, whilst small, firm cutlets of deep-fried primo cheese, streaked in flowery honey and Sicilian oregano, are met with even greater appreciation.
The menu continues as guests are seated and the antipasti dish is placed between four, to share. Strazzanti’s pesto Trapanese with cherry tomatoes is mild, fresh and nutty and sits alongside a goulash of caponata Siciliana sprinkled with warmed pine nuts – seasoned perfectly. Hackney E5 Bread accompanies the plate and does its job of diluting some of the intensity of the flavours.
The main course is a rustic Sicilian meal to share. Parcels of homemade pecorino and ricotta rest on a mixture of rich red pork ragu. The pasta stays al dente whilst the pork is cooked to the softest bite, the flavours marry perfectly and the no-fuss presentation lets the food do the talking.
Guests are then encouraged to get up and mingle, inspired by the leisurely passeggiata stroll, while individual tubs of creamy Zabaione Gelato act as palate cleansers. The sweet, milky mix with delicate accents of wine makes it both creamy and dry, and slices of broken-edged almond brittle add a fabulous texture.
A trio of the chef’s bite-sized handmade signature dolci then does the rounds. These pistachio, almond and hazelnut cakes, sprinkled with flecks of strawberries, ground pistachios and dollops of heavenly chocolate, are the perfect note to end on.
With Strazzanti, her passion is clear. She strives for heritage in an ever-changing world: “Not a trend, nor a fad, but truly authentic. With longevity that will remain long after I have gone.” Judging by the room full of die-hard fans, for whom the figure is culinary royalty, she’s pretty much on her way.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Matthew Pull
Strazzanti Supper Club is at Carousel, 71 Blandford Street Marylebone London W1U 8AB, from 23rd until 27th October, and at Hackney Coffee Company, 503 Hackney Rd London E2 9ED, on 29th and 30th November. To book a table call 07896 262582 or visit their website here.