Friday 6 July 2018


An Authentic Taste of Italy at Venerdi in East London

Pizza, pasta, panna cotta... Italy gets all of the best foods starting with a 'p', apparently, but you don't have to make the trek all the way down to the sunny south to be able to sample some of these delicious dishes for yourself. Most of us will be familiar with the many Italian chain restaurants London has to offer but while they're convenient for a quick bite, they lack an authenticity that can really transport you to a sweltering hot Mediterranean day. Cosy restaurant Venerdi in East London's Hackney brings the essence of real Italian food right onto our doorstep with the deep flavours of fresh home-made pasta, quality buffalo mozzarella and the most scrumptious white pizza steeped in cheese and truffle you'll ever have.

As soon as you walk into the restaurant you'll be greeted by a rustic interior; dark wooden tables and funky lights creating mesmerising patterns on the ceiling, make for an enjoyable and different experience. You instantly know that you're in a unique eating establishment, rather than yet another run off the mill chain one. As we sat down to peruse the menu we first ordered some drinks and I went for Sanpellegrino lemonade, which let me tell you, on a hot London summer's day, really hit the spot with its refreshing and slightly tangy flavour.

For our mains, we ended up sharing two pizzas and two pasta dishes among the three of us, so we could really sample a range of the dishes that Venerdi has to offer. The first dish we choose was the Tartufo, which is a white base pizza with mozzarella, buffalo mozzarella, mixed Porcini mushroom and truffle oil. And oh my gosh, I'm almost salivating just thinking about this one again. 😍😍😍 This on the surface simple pizza was stuffed with complex flavours and the indisputable highlight of the evening. Even the crispy base and the plain crust was so beautiful that I didn't leave a single crumb of it on my plate. At just £11 for a very decent-sized dish it was also an absolute bargain and I'll definitely be popping back into Venerdi in the not too distant future to have another taste of this glorious dish. Tomato-based pizzas may be all the rage, but I'm now very much on team white pizza!

For our second pizza of the night we went with a staff recommendation: the Bufalina. Comprised of tomato sauce, fresh buffalo mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil, this is a pizza that takes the classic Margherita to a whole new level. I could've easily devoured all of the buffalo mozzarella on this one because it was absolutely delicious and really highlights that quality ingredients can make all the difference. We probably should've sampled the pizzas in a different order though as compared to the Tartufo this one tasted a tad simplistic, but it was still well above the standards of the average pizza you'll be able to find elsewhere in London.

The first of the pasta dishes was one of my choices; Ravioli Con Aragosta, which is a fresh homemade ravioli jam-packed with lobster and swimming in a rich tomato-based sauce. Fresh pasta is the absolute best and this tasty dish reminded me that I should really treat myself more often to such beautifully made pasta rather than going for a cheap pre-packaged brand in the supermarket. And the lobster was divine too. They really didn't skim on the filling for these, the ravioli was bursting with lobster and flavour and it was a decent-sized portion too, which is always good to know as some restaurants will serve a single ravioli or two placed delicately on a plate and uh... that is not filling enough to be a main dish.

Our final pasta dish was the also staff-recommended Trilogy Pasta, a very cool plate of three different pastas so you can sample a variety of flavours at Venerdi. It came with Panzotti Pistachio (ravioli filled with pistachio, ricotta cheese and Parmesan, served with cherry tomatoes in a pesto sauce), Gnocchi Bufalina (buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and garlic, served with a tomatoes and pesto sauce) and Pappardelle Melenzane (aubergine, cherry tomato, garlic, basil and goats cheese with a touch of tomato sauce). This colourful plate was such a great way to sample a range of the pasta delights Venerdi has to offer and I highly recommend it for first-time visitors to get a varied taste of Italy. My personal favourite was the Panzotti Pistachio because the pistachio flavour was so unique to me, I've never had it in a pasta dish before, but the gnocchi and papperdelle were absolutely delish too.

While we were pretty full of delicious pizza and pasta by the end of the night, we couldn't not order something off the tempting dessert menu, even if we could perhaps manage only a single bite of our dishes (spoiler alert: I finished off my entire plate). While the Tiramisu looked gorgeous, I'm not a coffee person, so I opted for the Panna Cotta Al Bailey's, which combined the wonderful flavours of two of my absolute favourite things: panna cotta (the BEST Italian dessert ever... I'll fight you for this) and Baileys. And this is going to be a big statement, as I've had many a panna cotta in my time, but I think this is my favourite one yet 😱 The panna cotta itself was perfectly made, firm but with a gentle wobble, and the flavour of vanilla comes through just before you're hit with a gorgeous wave of Bailey's. The perfect dessert combination and a wonderful way to finish what had been an absolutely scrumptious meal from start to finish. 

The wonderful Venerdi really does bring the authentic flavours of the Mediterranean right onto our London doorsteps with their scrumpitous dishes packed with high quality ingredients. Some of the dishes may sound quite simple on the surface, like the white pizza, but the deep and rich flavours of the carefully selected ingredients means that each bite packs a powerful punch and you will be really enjoying the ingredients and flavours like they were meant to. I'll certainly be back for another tasty bite of the Tartufo pizza... and the Panna Cotta too, who am I kidding 😉 Huge thanks to Love Pop Ups London for organising the outing!

Venerdi is located on 9 Chatsworth Road, E5 0LH London.

🎵 Listening to: Fall Out Boy – Young Volcanoes


  1. Wow glad you had a fab time I am now salivating after reading your blog post. Venerdi sounds like a piece of Italian heaven in London.

    Joanne of Love Pop Ups London

    1. Thanks so much for your kind comment, Joanne, it really was super delicious 😍


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