22 April 2015

it's a piada

F O O D & P L A C E || Piada Bar

If you are a non-Italian, then this is a warm welcome to the world of piade. When most people think of Italian food, we usually come up with the classics: pizza, pasta, prosciutto, panettone… [the list goes on but they don't all begin with a 'p']. Well there's a new P in London town that you should get to know. If you're Italian you'll know how popular this snack is and I'm surprised you've not brought these up in conversation as much as their 'p' brothers and sisters. Piada is a thin Italian flatbread traditionally from Romagna. Apparently each Romagna family has a secret recipe for making piada which is passed on from generation to generation of piada makers - and if you want to try one of these tried and tested traditional recipes, then Piadabar in Soho is the place to visit. This week, I was lucky enough to get the chance to try out some of their classic recipes with a little glass of vino...

where. || Piada Bar, 3-5 Bateman street, W1D 4AG

the piade. //

The concept of Piadabar is simple - as the name describes, their focus is on sharing the wonderful world of piade with London. They have six types of savoury piade and two sweet, all priced at a very affordable £4.50 a portion - a quick snack packed with tasty fillings. We got to sample most of their main piade on offer [1] piada ham with mozzarella and rocket, [2] 3 cheese piada, [3] salmon piada with cheese, lemon, cucumber and ginger, [4] pork belly piada, cheese and pickled veg, [5] vegan piada with grilled vegetables, olive oil and ginger, [6] chocolate piada with nutella, almonds and corn flakes & [6] fruit piada with honey, nuts, apple and ginger. The savoury piade were by far my favourite of the selection - I think the very first one we tried would be my top choice [the traditional piada ham]. The flatbread is light [not as heavy as a pizza] but still filling due to the rich flavours. There are two versions: the fluffier version which has lard in the middle of the pastry and the vegan version which is made with olive oil. The team have adapted some of their more traditional recipes to suit the British taste - for example, adding cheese where the piada might seem dry for the non-Italian palate. I get that menus have to adapt to new palates but I hope the team don't sway too much from the traditional recipes because for me this is what will make them really stand out. Soho is a tough crowd though, Piadabar is surrounded by chains [Nando's is across the road and you know people love their chicken]. I can also imagine most people on their lunch breaks probably wouldn't drop in unless they knew what a piada was. Keeping it simple, adapting their piada offering and incorporating additional bits like fresh soups, pasta, salads and pastries should hopefully help get the crowds in whilst maintaining their authentic Italian menu.

the extras. //

Apparently piada is usually eaten on the go - like a snack. However, it's actually best enjoyed with a glass of red wine [can't argue with that]. To compliment our tasting, Maxine of Castello Carboncine showcased some of their popular wines and prosecco [the latter with the dessert fruit platter]. We tried a bit of their Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Prosecco. Although I'm usually a red fan, the Merlot we tried was a little too acidic for me - I prefer reds that are more rounded and warming [that's not wine-speak but hopefully you get what I'm saying up in this rambling]. The pinot was lovely though - a golden, peachy colour and great flavour - my favourite of the bunch. 

Overall, it was the team that won me over. Business partners Marina and Vincinio were extremely welcoming and passionate about getting more people into the wonderful world of piada. The team work in a really tight space with an open kitchen so everything is very much on show. They worked well together and there was a real family feel about the place - one of the team Serenella was particularly sweet and reminded me of a proper Italian mama who just wanted to make you smile with her food. They've only been open for just over two months. Although the majority of their clientele so far have been Italians, they definitely have the potential to convert more non-Italians once the word spreads. Vincinio told me that those who have been curious and adventurous enough to come in and try have become repeat customers. So on your next lunch break [or if you're just exploring Soho], get in there!

another big thank you to tikichris.com and piadabar for the invite.

happy wednesday and more importantly happy earth day - it's a double whammy!


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