Artusi in Peckham has been on my to try list for a while but its location in Peckham was causing extreme laziness and preventing me from going. Thankfully, my girlfriends were game and we decided to venture to a new hood (we are so unhip I know…). And it was worth the track, which to be honest just took 40 minutes in the tube, including the 10 minute walk so absolutely worth it!
The place is on the high street, a short walk from Peckham Rye stop and surrounded by other adorable eateries…..
The menu changes daily, and I had checked their twitter page and was excited about what was on for the day, but it seems like I checked early and when we got there, the menu was different.
What we ate (or what didn’t we eat? The menu is small…)
Jerusalem artichoke puree with chestnuts: by mistake our very nice waiter brought us two portions instead of one and we sent one back as it looked like a generous serving and I was sharing with Claire. After we tried, we regretetd sending it back as it was so amazing. The puree was almost grits texture or soft polenta, rich and creamy and the chestnuts on top added sweetness to the right level.
Seared Ox heart with peppers and a chili caper salsa: I had never tried Ox heart and was proud of my friend Dana for ordering. I was even more proud that all of us also tried. Who says Americans are a pain with food restrictions? Dinner was me (Brazilian) plus three Americans and we were eating full fat, meat, carbs, and even dairy and gluten – crazy! But I guess we all live here and appreciate all those yummy British products. The Ox heart was steak like, maybe a tad more chewy and served almost rare but the salsa was extremely flavorful and fresh, even for a non caper aficionado like me. I do confess we discussed Qnola at dinner which is a quinoa granola……
Cime di Rapa with bagna cauda: this was the first dish served and as we all tried we asked ourselves if we should order one more as it was so good! The bagna cauda anchovy taste was very subtle but the broccoli rabe (so much sexier in italian!) was al-dente and delicious and had some sauteed leaves with it…..yum!
Papardelle with beef ragu: two out of four of us ordered this and when one of them arrived 4 minutes after the first, the waiter was so apologetic he removed it from the bill, such a nice touch. But this was perfect. I like my pasta with a lot of sauce and we even discussed this one versus the one at Trullo in Islington and this wins in my book by a landslide. The beef ragu was meat that had fallen from the bone and was succulent and melted in the mouth. The pasta was fresh and the sauce was meaty and lovely. We did add a tiny bit more Parmesan, but there is never too much (unless its seafood of course…).
Linguini alla Puttanesca: I hate olives and putatnesca includes the only foods I don’t like such as olives and capers (less hated than olives) but friends were raving about it so I dared (with my eyes closed) to have a bite and liked it. Not too olivey and just salty and good.
Roasted cod with broccoli and caponata: once again a dish with olives that I dared to try…..as the fish was compelling gorgeous tall white and flaky and the brocoli was bright and perfectly cooked. Very good.
They just have two desserts and both include chocolate, another reason I loved this place.
Salted honey and chocolate ice creams: starightforward but very flavorful and creamy.
Chocolate mousse with roasted pear: a massive (and a tad phallic looking pear…) but cooked well and served with a mousse that had some sort of crumbly thing mixed inside. Fine but ice cream was better.
In Sum: A menu that changes daily is fun but what happens when you love a dish and want to eat it again and it never returns???? And we loved so many of them. Artusi, can you please open a sister spot close to my hiuse or office? The food was delicious and service was great and the prices were very affordable! The bill was £81 for 4 of us, with wine. He didn’t charge us for the one pasta meaning it would have been around £90. Amazing. Tables could be a bit further from each other though……
It actually inspired us do to a quarterly girl’s dinner to a different and unique hood to find little gems like Artusi in Peckham – suggestions welcome!. And, if I ever leave finance and decide to open an italian restaurant, I may have to call it Artusi as one of my top spots in NY is L’Artusi…..
Artusi Peckham http://artusi.co.uk/
161 Bellenden Road Peckham, London SE15 4DH
+4420 3302 8200