Splendid Sicilian Supper

The more I explore Sicilian food, the more I realise there are a plethora of options for vegans. I visited Tasting Sicily – Enzo’s Kitchen on Panton Street, close to Picadilly Circus, last night on a mission to sample their vegan options. With the emphasis on this restaurant being foods regional to Sicily, it was a very different dining experience to that of a generic Italian restaurant, the difference was very obviously, I ate dishes I have never had before, including pasta made in ways I had never seen before and was very well looked after by Chef Enzo and his team, headed up by the wonderfully knowledgeable Luisa. Starting with olives, perhaps not the most uncommon appetiser, however, but they we were fresh and tasty and I find they I always think they are the perfect starters, to get the cinversation flowing and nibbles whet the appetite for the meal to come. Followed by a very wholesome and healthy lentil and chickpea soup, which was rich in flavour. The lentils were perfectly tender and cooked beautifully, this was a great start to a dinner on a cold Winter’s night and a rather healthy one too! With a crouton to add a bit of crunch to this otherwiseotherwise tenderly sumptuous dish, and great sign of what was to come. Followed by Panelle which is a dish made from chickpea flour. The chickpea is mixed with water and herbs, then made into fritters, delicious fritters, I might add. With a good squeeze of lemon, this is a dish elevated for me from what I am told is a Sicilian street food to a restaurant quality dish that is so delicate in flavours and textures that it really is a delight. Zucca in agrodolce is a dish I have never had before, nor have I ever heard of before to be honest, translating to sweet and sour pumpkin,I was not sure what to expect when this beautifully presented plate of food is nothing like I have ever tasted before, though I will make it my mission to eat this every time I see it on a menu. The pumpkin was cooked beautifully and then allowed to soak up the ‘sweet and sour’ flavours of sugar and white wine vinegar. This was an outstanding dish, that I am told is a relatively simple dish in Sicily but my word, it was tasty! As a carbohydrate enthusiast, pasta is always something I enjoy and would like to think I have had my fair share of pasta types, so to find myself eating busiate, a wonderfully spiralled pasta which was served with cherry tomatoes, almonds and garlic. This was a good pasta dish, different to the usual vegan pasta dishes, I am served, very tasty and bold with the flavour of garlic and tomato, with the almonds giving it a great deal of texture. A very pleasing bowl of food! Then the second bowl of pasta, with flavours I was more familiar with a rich tomato sauce that tasted of really fresh tomato, with olives and capers, giving it a good deal of taste, running through the whole dish.This dish again showcased how Sicilian food seems to be ridiculously tasty for food that is ultimately fresh ingredients, cooked very well, sounds simple but I believe it takes a lot of skill to get the optimum flavours out of these ingredients. Lastly just as I was beginning to think that even I couldn’t eat anymore, a thin crusted pizza to finish the meal topped with fresh and delicious vegetables.The base was so thin just as a perfectly slow-risen dough should be, the vegetables were cooked superbly and of course, came with all of the delicious flavours you would expect. An excellent end to a superb evening of food and learning. There was just time for a black coffee before exploring the many colourful decorations the restaurant displays. The decorations included that of a Sicilian cartwheel, intricately hand painted to create quite the masterpiece for display, as well as much other cultural art. It is a wonderful place to explore the Sicilian cuisine and delicious at that, in a great atmosphere and with wonderful staff.

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