Poggi's Piacenza [Notting Hill, London]

A new opening in Notting Hill, Poggi is a wonderful little find.

All of the produce is directly sourced from Piacenza daily and the short menu give you a real taste of a trattoria.

We started with the salumi plate which was all freshly cut at the counter from some of the most succulent looking Italian meats I’ve seen in some time. The lardo was great and we shared it with fried gnocco and excellent olive oil. To follow some tiny delicate ravioli in broth was perfect for a cold winter’s night as was some lovely tortelli with ricotta and spinach. A top of the class tiramasu (the best I’ve had outside Italy) finished the evening in style.

This was true Piacenzan cooking with a small menu that left no room for spaghetti with ragu that many people might be expecting in an Italian restaurant. Try it for something different and to support people who are passionate about their home town’s cooking.

I may have to go just for the tiramisu. It’s something I always order in an Italian restaurant and it usually disappoints.

Don’t miss the sbrisolana if you’ve never had it. It’s a cake that really can vary from cook to cook, and my favorite type of sbrisolana is rather thin and biscuit-like, with quite a crunchy topping, and often served with a side of fresh-whipped zabaione.

I never order tiramisu in Italy, although it is popular. To me it’s not as interesting or as tasty as the very old and traditional Italian cakes (tiramisu is a restaurant invention of the 70s.)

It’s great to see people opening a restaurant in London with such confidence in their hyper-local regional Italian cuisine with a very limited, tight menu. Piacentini cooking is barely known in Italy outside of Piacenza. The coppa is popular and had a good reputation thus gets wider distribution, and they share some dishes with a larger swath of Po river towns in Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna, but it is basically a very very homey, nourishing cuisine, without a lot of crowd-pleasing fats and frills. The most famous staple dish – the super-nourishing pisarei e faso – was (as far as I know) created to serve pilgrims making their way from Canterbury to Rome along the via Francigena.

Another memorable dish is the beautiful tortelli con la coda. Again, it often depends on who is making it, but it one of the very prettiest of Italian pastas.

Yup - we had the tortelli con la coda and sbrisolana and I spied pisarei e faso on the menu!