"This warm, cosy restaurant serves top quality meat and cheese"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
Almost every inch of space at this 30-cover restaurant cum deli is filled with food, whether it’s racks of wine, shelves stacked with bottles of olive oil and preserves, or hams hanging from the walls. As well as being devoted to food from the northern Italian city, the products are almost exclusively stamped with PDO or PGI seals, (Protected Designation of Origin and Protected Geographical Indication).
Fancy labelling usually means expensive, but meat and cheese platters for two range from £16 to £22, or £9 to £16 for individual ones. Most importantly the intensity of the flavours we’re treated to are several notches above what a Sainsbury’s deli counter can offer. Take the Salami di Felino for example, peppery and silky smooth, with just the right amount of fattiness, and the Culatello di Zibello which we initially mistake for Bresaola because of its dark colour, but is in fact pork from the leg of the pig, with a robust savoury flavour.
Cheeses include an oozy, lightly smoky Taleggio, and a moderately tangy Gorgonzola, however these are mellow in comparison to the crumbly 36 month old Parmesan, which has a sharpness that makes our tongues tingle. There are milder versions on offer too, like the Parmesan made from rare breed Red Cows.
The signature wine here is Lambrusco, which for all its negative connotations turns out to be a successful pairing for cured meat - this isn’t the sickly sweet, fizzy red companion to Lambrini, it’s dry, fruity and served in a bowl called a fojeta rather than a glass (the owner insists on photographing customers with their fojetas, and the images form part of a slideshow screened on the back wall of the restaurant).
As the focus is largely on meat and cheese, the rest of the menu is kept simple, with a few pasta dishes, polenta, bruschetta and a fonduta for two. We try the Tortelli d’ Erbetta, a dish traditionally eaten for the feast of Saint Giovanni in June, it’s ravioli that’s slightly al dente with a soft filling of ricotta and spinach. The homemade egg pasta is fantastic, glistening strips of ribbon pasta with the sauce of the day, in today’s case a simple combo of butter, black pepper and Pecorino cheese that’s rich in flavour.
For dessert there is naturally a tiramisu, and the intriguing chocolate salami, essentially a chocolate biscuit with almonds, sliced to look like the sausage.
In Parma is the first restaurant by importers Food Roots, who have unassumingly created a warm, cosy venue serving top quality food; it’s a must for lovers of cured meats and cheese.
Leila reviewed In Parma on Wed 21 Nov 2012