In a bit of a deviation from our usual reviewing of foodie places in Soho and Central London, this week we’ve stuck a little closer to home. To my home in fact, as we went to the opening of Bombetta London in Snaresbrook, East London.
Those of you familiar with Snaresbrook and its neighbouring Wanstead will know that it’s a quiet, leafy little suburb in East London that’s lucky enough to have a brilliant collection of independent restaurants, a really nice fishmongers (Wanstead Fish) and we were even blessed with the opening of a new branch of The Ginger Pig a few weeks back. Sadly we don’t have a dirty chicken shop, which I often lament when rolling home late from the pub at night, but all of this does make the place a bit of a haven for wannabe foodies like me.
Last week, a new kid appeared on the block: Bombetta London. He’s cool, new, different, from the other side of the tracks (literally! Bombetta London is situated just opposite the Snaresbrook tube entrance) and oozing with Italian charm. Everyone’s head turned. We all want to know what this mysterious newbie is all about. So last Friday we popped along to the soft launch opening to check it out.
Bombetta London’s menu draws inspiration from the Italian farming communities of Puglia where villagers would gather together at the butcher’s shop to eat pieces of meat that had been rolled up with cheese and cured meats, and then roasted over a fire. These meaty treats are called Bombetta, and this idea of communal sharing of simple dishes and delicious meat on sticks is what Bombetta London have now brought to Snaresbrook. I don’t know about you but that sounds pretty good, huh?
To get us in the mood we started with a few nibbles, namely the Pig’s Head Bruschetta (£3) and the Marinated Olives & Marcona Almonds (£3.50). The cubes of pig’s head atop crunchy bruschetta were very soft and a tiny bit gelatinous but tasty as heck, with a flavour somewhat reminiscent of black pudding. I haven’t eaten many dishes like this before but I really liked it! The olives were a mixture of black and green juicy plump puppies combined with almonds and a few slices of roasted peppers thrown in too. A great little pre-dinner nibble or something that would be lovely alongside a glass of Tempranillo, or three.
After supping our wine and clearing our nibbles we moved onto a couple of small plates, which came out before the main course so it’s probably best to treat these like starters. I went for the only pasta dish on the menu, the Orecchiette, chickpeas, mushroom & tomato (£7). Well, when in… Puglia! The pasta was served in a light tomato sauce with sweet baby tomatoes, al dente chickpeas and mushrooms, topped with rocket and parmesan. It was a light, summery dish but the chickpeas made it feel a bit more hearty and as it was quite subtle it would have been a great accompaniment to the Bombetta that was to come.
Next up was the Broad bean purée, rainbow chard & crostini (£5) which came topped with mounds of gently fried celery and wilted rainbow chard. After clearing a path through the celery I finally reached the purée which was super creamy and yummy! My only complaint was that I felt like I wanted a second crostini so I could mop up every last drop of it. But by the end of dinner, I realised I wouldn’t have needed it.
Finally we get to the main event: the Bombetta! I went for the Chicken, Taleggio, duck spec & sage, crumbed Bombette (£9) while my husband opted for the Pork, spicy pancetta, scarmorza, nduja & basil (£11.50). As if that wasn’t enough meat we also had the Lamb Scottadito (£5) from the charcoal grill. In the spirit of communal eating this all came served on one big sharing plate with a handful of salad and some slices of bread.
So how was my first Bombette experience? Pretty damn tasty! I’ve eaten a lot of barbecue, and a lot of really nice quality meat but to have something that was a little bit different and still really tasty was very refreshing. Each bombette was a really satisfying little ball of flavour and a great, simple yet different way of grilling meat. And who the hell doesn’t like meat stuffed with melty cheese after all?! The Lamb Scottadito was essentially a very well done lamb chop, turned on the grill until crispy, but incredibly tasty nonetheless. When I was finished with it I wanted to pick up the bone and gnaw it but I didn’t simply because we were in polite company. All in all it was a resounding success. We practically licked the plate clean.
Now I know that you are probably thinking that after all of that I couldn’t possibly have room for anything more, right? Wrong! In fact, I ordered three desserts. Because I am basically a big fattie at heart.
The Dark chocolate and hazelnut torte with salted caramel gelato (£7) was everything that you hoped it would be. The torte was really rich and dark with a good amount of hazelnuts so you could really taste them, and the salted caramel ice cream was just awesome.
My husband had the Vanilla panna cotta with roasted figs and basil sorbet (£6) and said it was really delicious. The panna cotta was really sweet and smooth and set beautifully, the figs were nice and… uh, figgy and the basil sorbet was a delicious savoury surprise that and went really well with the rest of the dish.
Lastly the Strawberry & mascarpone semifreddo, balsamic (£7) was like a cross between an ice cream and a cake with the mascarpone cheese adding a real thick, rich, creaminess to it. The strawberries looked as if they had maybe been macerated in the balsamic vinegar but I couldn’t taste that too much and was quite happy about it to be honest. It was yummy enough as it was.
Bombetta London, as it’s namesake implies, mostly caters for carnivores. If you are of the vegetarian persuasion then this may not be the place for you. BUT if you enjoy eating delicious meat with a twist, in a laid-back, tapas-y, sharing-plate style with added tasty sides then you should get your butt down there. The interior was inviting, the vibe was relaxed and the staff were all super lovely and really knowledgeable on the menu (which is handy considering that a lot of it was in Italian and did require some Googling), and most of all the food was really good. We will definitely be back for seconds, and not only because it is just at the end of our road.
Bombetta London opens 10th August 2016.
Address: Units 1-5 Station Approach (next to Snaresbrook Tube), Snaresbrook, London, E11 1QE