August 04, 2014

La Polenteria | Soho | London

Competition Alert!*

For a chance to win a meal for two at Soho's, La Polenteria, be sure to leave a comment on what you'd like best to see served with your polenta and RT at my Twitter page - you have until midnight on Thursday 7th August - best of luck! Extra thanks to Zomato for hosting - more about them below.

 I'm always looking for versatile ingredients and a recent interest in polenta has seen many kitchen experiments go awry in the summer heat - polenta is somewhat a labour of love and standing over a stove for half an hour can be somewhat weary work. However, it is one that is quite rewarding as it can masquerade under many different guises.
If waiting for polenta isn't for you, you'll be pleased to know that you can begin your polenta-affair at Soho's La Polenteria where it is plentiful and, what's more, you can find out all about it directly from the source, Gabriele - a retired investment banker turned restauranteur.  

You can also read a little more below, from an interview with the man himself.

Ciao, Phillipe!
La Polenteria London Soho 
Where are you from?

I am from Milan but a lot of my relatives are from Bergamo, an area with traditions rich in polenta.

Why did you decide to open La Polenteria?

I worked from 2001 as an investment banker but come 2012 and I wanted to do my own thing - to introduce polenta to London. I was fed up with banking and wanted to so something entrepreneurial; a new concept. So I took a risk, why not? I did my research, especially concerning the demand for gluten free and so it wasn't a difficult decision.

We opened in December 2013 in Soho because it is a food quarter, with plenty of Italian influence. It's great for tourism and has a good balance of places to eat so it was a great place to commit seriously.
Cooking with Polenta
What makes you different?

The food itself - for sure. It's versatile and its limits are phenomenal. For me, polenta represents family and being with family. As a child, I would spend hours with my grandma preparing the polenta in copper pots and I wanted to recreate that family vibe and quality with genuine food. 
More recently, we've been looking at fusion with UK tastes - we want it to adopt multicultural flavours. In Italy, we would typically eat it on a Sunday with fried cod in our house in the mountains where we would meet with all our family, cooking it over the fire before pouring it onto the table and helping ourselves to a scoop. But here we're looking at what might make people feel more at home.

Describe the restaurant in three words

 Stylish, authentic polenta.
What's you favourite thing to do in London?

Ha, I don't have much time to spend in London as I am always here but I am lucky enough to live in Hampstead so that I can wake up, look out the window and see the squirrels. I love squirrels. 
Alex at La Polenteria
Thanks, Gabriele. It's been a pleasure talking to you.

If you'd like to peruse La Polenteria's menu, be sure to check out Zomato, complete with reviews, photos and more. It's the perfect place to meet other bloggers and find out where's good to eat in your city.
And so over to you, readers. What are your experiences of polenta? And, if you're a fan, what are your favourite recipes? The Tuscan sausage stew at La Polenteria is a fine choice, if can't make your mind up.

*Competition Terms

A meal for two including: two mains, two desserts and two drinks, to be redeemed at lunch or dinner time between Monday and Wednesday before the 30th of September.
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