I love House of Peroni and have been to several of their events for the past two years. My favourite house was the one in Marylebone two years ago when they played the movie La Grande Belezza accompanied by a six-course meal. Last year we went for a coffee making class, as I had to skip the Gelato class due to a work trip.
When I got their newsletter this year, their private opera inspired dinner seemed like the perfect event to take my mother to during her visit to London.
The event was described on their site as a dinner by Michelin-starred Sicilian chef Accursio Craparo with opera inspired events that you would experience throughout dinner, and around the residence. I received a fun email a few days before that was very funny and well crafted.
We arrived and were greeted by a lovely woman with a thick Italian accent who escorted us to bar stools, where we were given some mini Peroni bottles and we chatted with the handsome Fabrizio, who described their fun cocktail list in detail.
We were then taken to the upstairs area for our private dinner, where we were seated in a nicely decorated table with around 20 of their guests and our hosts; two actors with lovely Italian accents who were friendly and funny.
There was not much exploring or visiting the rest of the house. Lucia, our host, had very brief bursts that lasted 20 seconds of showcasing her nice opera type voice or singing but mostly it was them acting and being friendly to guests.
We chose the 6 course regular menu. (They have a vegetarian option too.)
What we ate:
Pumpkin soup with creamed cod: this was more of a purée than a soup, and topped with a modestly fishy cod cream. It was ok, but everything was a bit thick…
Roasted quail, chicken liver pâté, black truffle, hazelnuts and pomegranate: this dish was very pretty and the quail was served on a green ‘disc’, and although I was not entirely sure what it was made of, it was actually the best part of the dish. Giovanni, our host, explained that the chef wanted to replicate a quail walking on grass, but Giovanni thought was a bit absurd as the quail on the plate was of course dead! I am glad his explanation came after we were done eating…
Potato pearls, egg and parmesan cream: they were bigger than pearls and the name was a romanticized way to say gnocchi. But the execution was good and the sauce was very parmesan-y, rich and creamy and there were some little pork bits sprinkled around.
Braised beef cheek, cauliflower puree, sautéed spinach and hazelnuts: Visually this one was a miss. It looked like a pale green blob on a plate, but the beef cheeks, hiding underneath the cauliflower cream were well-cooked and tender. The overall texture of the dish, however, was soft on soft and missed a good crunch.
Gorgonzola ice cream, caramelized pearls, walnut crumble: I enjoyed this cheese/dessert course and thought it was unique and interesting. I love blue cheese, and the pairing with the pears and the crumble was great. Some people around me thought it was pretty weird and left it completely untouched.
Orange-scented meringue, chocolate, whipped cream and orange sauce: I am not a big meringue person, and I have to say that this one did nothing to persuade me otherwise.
Our hosts at this point told us to get ready for a surprise and handed transparent rain coats to each of us! We were advised to put them on, lift up the hoods and close them well. We also were told to put our handbags well under the table… we were starting to get scared!
The chef then appeared to greet us all and he was very friendly. He also brought large platters with meringue covered in orange cream. Suddenly, our hosts start fighting and grab the wet meringues and throw at each other and then proceeded to throw them at the guests, covering us all in cream and meringue crumbles… I guess that was the surprise drama in the ‘opera-themed’ dinner. It was somewhat fun but a bit goofy.
In sum: I had expected a more interesting evening with some wondering around the house and more opera related events….but it was still nice. The food was ok but not amazing and I think that previous Peroni houses have been a little more exciting. It is still very much a unique experience though. Our hosts were funny, particularly Lucia who played the part of an Italian Opera singer and a spoiled housewife with aversion to helping clear the table but obsessed with mirrors and cleaning……
Bar and clouds at Peroni House Brick lane