Have you ever walked into a restaurant and not understood a single word on the menu? And I’m not talking about being abroad in a non-English speaking country. I’m referring to those restaurants in London with such authentic international cuisine that you have absolutely no idea what it is! Well, this is what happened to me last week when I stopped by Dalston’s Italian restaurant Rotorino and was presented with this menu…
Despite my 3 months of beginner Italian lessons, the only two dishes I even remotely recognised were risotto and panettone. The rest of the menu had to be translated by a very accommodating waiter, and well, let’s just say it was far from the stereotypical pizza and carbonara you find at many Italian restaurants in the UK.
So if not just pizza and pasta, then what is on the menu?
At Rotorino, Head Chef Lewis and Stevie are constantly working on new and exciting things, with a regularly changing menu and new specials from all across Italy every week. But the absolute selling point of Rotorino has to be their special monthly regional events.
On the last Tuesday of every month, Rotorino hosts a Regional Dinner in which they serve a four-course seasonal set menu from a different city or region of Italy. So far they have hosted evenings dedicated to areas including Venice, Rome and Emilia-Romagna. And what’s even more amazing is that all of these regional events are priced at just £28 per person for four delicious courses!
The particular menu on our visit was a celebration of food from the region of Lombardy in Northwest Italy, which is typified by rice, maize, meats, cheeses & butter.
A Taste of Lombardy
Much to our surprise – in a good way – the starters came as a sharing platter, with enough for us all to try a good sized portion of each. We were able to sample mondeghilli (veal, beef & parmesan fried meatballs), bresoala (salted dried beef), alborelle (freshwater fish) and taleggio and pomodoro (Italian cheese with tomato) bruschetta.
Next was the option of tortelli di zucca (pumpkin ravioli) or marubini in brodo (meat tortellini in a broth). I chose the ravioli which had to be my favorite dish of the evening – creamy, buttery and extremely flavoursome.
The third course was an option of luccio in salsa (fish), osso bucco and saffron risotto (beef risotto) or buckwheat pizzoccheri (vegetarian tagliatelle). The risotto was tasty and very filling, especially considering it was one of four courses.
Finally, dessert once again came in the form of a sharing platter, with toasted panettone, sbrisolona (crunchy tart), torrone (sweet Italian nougat) and provolone valpadanna with mostarda di frutt (a strong Italian cheese with crackers and fruit chutney). An interesting selection of new flavours to round off a fantastic meal.
Visit Rotorino Here:
Thank you to Love Pop-Ups London for organising and to Rotorino for hosting us. All opinions are entirely my own.