Ponti’s Italian Kitchen tucked just behind Oxford Street, recently launched it’s 50th anniversary menu to celebrate the ingredients the team lovingly source from the North Eastern region of Italy, Emilia Romagna. The business has been family run for 50 years and successfully strikes the right balance between modern, with it’s sleek open kitchen and contemporary presentation of dishes all symmetry and angles, and tradition, with it’s friendly Italian team who demonstrate an obvious respect for their carefully sourced ingredients. I couldn’t make the official 50 year celebration dinner so the team kindly offered to do the taster menu for me and a friend on a different night. We were being served a whopping 8 courses from their new menu that groups anti-pasti, mains, pizza, pasta and salads and a selection of wines from the region including a delicious pinot nero that came served in a traditional ceramic bowl to bring out the sweet tannins.
A lovely plate of reasonably priced anti-pasti carne (parma ham, salami, coppa and some aged parmesan thrown in for luck) kicked off proceedings followed by Capesante con parma (scallops wrapped in parma ham). The scallops were perfectly plump and juicy and sweetened gently with a garlic butter. All elements of a mozarella, squash and wilted green salad were nice and well presented but overall the combo was underseasoned and therefore a bit flat. I nabbed some tasty tapenade from the olive selection they’d given us and with that and a splash of balsamic the whole thing was much more interesting.A spezzatino di pesce (seafood stew) bought together a lovely selection of white fish and shellfish in a sweet tomato sauce yet was also a bit one dimensional. Better was the Ravioloni which was filled generously with spinach and ricotta and served wonderfully al dente.The thing that consistently impressed was the bread which came with pretty much every course and in so many different shapes and sizes. Their range spanned crisp flatbread, light focaccia and flavourful sourdough and each one clearly demonstrated that their in-house baker knew exactly what they were doing and how to use the on site wood stove oven.Where-as the tiramisu was too cream heavy and plain, my absolute highlight of the dinner was the Bombolini de ricotta, delicious light Italian doughnuts served warm with sweet acacia honey and vanilla ice cream. I was so full but finished the lot.
There were some really nice elements to the dinner at Ponti’s and the team were all very friendly and accommodating. The restaurant also had a nice buzz and was suitably busy for it’s location. There are other places in the local area I’d head to first, but I’ll pop back to ponti’s for a shopping carb pit stop some time soon.