We gathered at the Italian restaurant Acciuga on Kensington High Street, somewhere I'd actually passed more than a few times but never noticed. The word Acciuga means anchovy in Italian, a staple ingredient in Liguria, where the head chef Guglielmo Amulfo hails from. I know that anchovies can be a love/hate thing, but I for one am a fan of them.
We started downstairs for some nibbles and cocktails - what they call Madness of Gold, made with cognac, grape marmalade and basil. It was unusual, potent and surprisingly delicious. The drinks were accompanied by focaccia (loved it), and a couple of other fried snacks that got eaten up very quickly.
After which we were hustled into the kitchen, to watch the head chef at work on their signature dish, the poached egg with black truffle. You're thinking, "They made you watch him poach an egg? What a snoozefest." - but no! This was no ordinary poaching. He whisked the whites into a meringue, placed the yolks in the meringue nests, topped them with black truffle, and put them in the oven for 4 minutes exactly. The chefs at Acciuga import the eggs directly from Italy, where the standard for checking and passing eggs is of the highest level, ensuring them to be as fresh as possible (proven by their bright orange yolks).
It's always fascinating to go behind the scenes at restaurants - it's easy to forget about where the work really happens, when you're sitting comfortably in the smart, calm dining room.
We were all pretty hungry by this point, so were more than happy to take our seats and get eating! We had chosen our courses prior to the event - I had picked the fried anchovies for starter, the Piedmontese ravioli for main, and the pistachio and raspberry millefeuille for dessert.
It seemed like a popular combo - quite a few of my neighbours had chosen the same dishes. The starter was right up my street, the fish was fresh and the tomato sauce was so flavourful and they worked together beautifully. The main was also delicious, but I definitely could have done with a few more raviolis! The portion seemed quite small for a main, but the taste was just what I expected and wanted. The dessert was a strange one - as pictured, it clearly didn't look like a traditional millefeuille, but the concept was there with the pastry flakes and cream. The pistachio flavour was excellent, but none of us could detect the raspberry - perhaps they nixed it? It was a little confusing, but I quite enjoyed it for what it was.
As always, I had a lovely evening chatting with blogging buddies and fellow foodies (wow, I won at alliteration right there), and it was great to meet some new faces too. Thank you to the team at Acciuga for welcoming us, and to Zomato for yet another wonderful event. I am so impressed with their new app which I'm sure I'll mention again soon - I genuinely use it when I'm out and about and stuck for ideas.
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