Sunday, 4 April 2010

Su Sazzagoni

The latest addition to the burgeoning Victoria Park Village scene is this Sardinian trattoria and delicatessen, which also describes itself as an Italian classic bar and English coffee shop. It is run by owner, Elena and a friendly and enthusiastic team who, characterised by an unadulterated love of Sardinian cuisine, provide a delicious education. Drop in to purchase delicacies such as spreadable pecorino by the jar, smoked scamorza (similar to mozzarella) and caprino, Italian goats cheese from the deli counter. But don't let it stop there.

Breakfast lunch and dinner are served here at communal tables. On the night I went I was given a never ending feast of Italian and Sardinian specialties. Seasonal and homemade are the watchwords of the menu. When the gelato was served, our waiter apologised sincerely that it was not made on the premises – because everything else is, from the Italian breads baked daily to handmade pizza and pasta. We began with Calamari Ripieni (stuffed squid with parsley and breadcrumbs), and were given a succession of dishes from fregole (Sardinian cous cous), malloreddus – a Sardnian pasta made from semolina flour, and macaroni de buzau - yes, from Sardinia.

Such was the enthusiasm of Marcelo, our waiter and assistant manager that not only would he smilingly and encouragingly describe all our dishes in detail, but on his break, he leafed through magazines about Sardinian food. Marcelo explained that Sardinian is a language, not a dialect and when he presented the Rissotto Zafferano (Saffron Rissotto), he told us that Sardinia is the number one producer of saffron in Europe.

I am not a wine expert, but my friend and colleague, Stuart George is. He was my dinner companion – read his review here. Although, good as he writes, he had just returned from a week-long trip to Italy involving much food and wine, and wasnt much good to woman nor wine novice by the end of the meal.

There are plenty of bargains to be had at Su Sazzagoni. Italian happy hour runs from 4pm to 7pm daily, during which you are given complimentary appetisers with your 'aperitivo'. Enjoy acoustic music with your meal Tuesday to Friday from 6pm and Saturday from 1pm, a highly reasonable fixed price lunch Monday to Sunday and take away pizzas from just £7.50. On Sundays, you can bring your own wine and get a 5% discount from Bottle Apostle across the road.

I confess my notes were even more of an illegible scribble than normal by the end of the meal. I was drunk, not so much on the copious wine, but - as my mother says happily at the end of a particularly satisfying meal – 'drunk on food'.

13th and 15th April sees Su Sazzagoni's very first cookery master classes. It's not too late to book your place, £25. Tel. 0208 985 8448