Amalfi April at Sartoria, Saville Row
The seafood was so fresh, we saw it moving...
However, we didn't expect to be doing our own cooking. Lukas Pfaff, German-born, Italian-raised chef of many talents, invited Itchy to spend the morning learning how to cook April's Amalfi Coast lunch – Seafood Pasta and Caprese Chocolate Cake. And when the prices are £22 for two courses and £27 for three, it seemed like a opportunity to afford our cake and eat it too.
Of the many things we learnt during our hot and hectic stay in the Sartoria kitchen, the bits that stick in the mind are: how to prepare fresh seafood, how to check that it's clean and safe (sadly, this means the more alive the better and not everyone is going to be suited to cooking the dishes at home) and where to buy the best shellfish (apparently expensive supermarkets are the best bet).
Itchy's worries about cooking fresh clams and mussels were soon put to rest and by the end of the day we were even ready to give cooking langoustine prawns a go – on the condition that they stop wriggling eventually. It's a pretty big compliment to the chef and his staff that even after guiltily watching them cook our new friends alive – and it is VERY dangerous to cook dead shellfish, so please don't try it at home – we still wanted to pile our plate high with the results.
The best part of the dish? The seafood was all cooked in olive oil, not butter, and the thick, fresh Amalfi pasta (a bit more like noodles than pasta - yum!) made the whole thing very, very good for you. So we had an extra slice of traditional-Italian-mother Chocolate and Almond Cake with marscapone. After all that cooking, we think we deserved it.
The restaurant itself is a taste of the high life - with all the cutlery you could ever desire (and more) alongside fine wines and courteous waiters. Itchy particularly enjoyed the big round tables, perfect for a sociable lunch with a larger group. We also had our eye on the quaint dining sofas - sometimes only a comfy chair will do.
Come July the restaurant will be hosting a 'best of the best' menu, with the most delicious and popular dishes of the previous six months all appearing together. Our invite is in the post, surely... See you there!
How'd you like to see some recipes up on Itchy? We've picked up a lot from our travels (including the aforementioned incredible chocolate cake) and we'd like to share them with you... thoughts?