The team from Food roots opens Via Emilia in November 2017. I lifted this from their website: “Necessarily quality comes with authenticity; we source our products from the best small producers avoiding mass production and only for our restaurants”. I like that mantra. They’re all about regional Italian cookery and this restaurant’s USP is the stuff from the Emilia-Romagna region. It’s so called the “food valley” and is where egg pastas such as Tortellini, Lasagne and Bolognese were invented. Now you can have it right in the heart of Hoxton, all hand made onsite. The speciality of the house are the gnoccho fritto, a crimped bread in the shape of pillows fried until it puffs up. This comes at the beginning with cured meats and/or cheese. Via Emilia is the sister restaurant of Fitzrovia’s 30-cover In Parma who specialise in all things Parma and is owned by Christian Pero from Food Roots project – the man who brings us the meaningful from regional Italy.
The menu is blissfully simple with 8 eight main dishes priced from £5.50 to £11.
To lubricate we went for the Lupo Italian APA £5 – a tropical little number with a citric zing that went brilliantly with the pasta.
Here are carb-laden pillows of deliciousness, their gnoccho fritto £2.70. They come in threes ripping hot from the fryer, I could have easily inhaled the lot. We got them with parmesan chunks aged for 24 months and a pot of sticky balsamic. They are heart-thumpingly good, order these when you get here.
First came the caplaz ad zuca £9, hat shaped ravioli filled with sweet butternut squash, butter, parmesan and sage. They were sumptuous, cooked with the right amount of bite and tension – this seems to be the theme of the pasta.
Reginètti aj fónz £8 were crimped tagliatelle with a velvety buttered sauce filled with porcini and borgotaro, the royalty in the Italian mushroom world found in the mountainous region of Parma.
Turtlèin in brôd £11 from Modena were naval shaped ravioli filled with pork loin, mortadella cheese, parma ham and parmesan. They came in the clearest “rich hen broth”. As good quality as the pasta was, the advertised broth was just too weak to make a point of being in the bowl.
This was their tagliatelle from Bologna £8. It’s somewhat a big deal when they say it was first registered 1982 on the menu. It’s a delicate but brilliantly satisfying beef & pork ragù that clings on to the pasta for dear life before the lot is gobbled up.
When did I go? June 2018
The damage: Expect to pay £25/30 per head with a drink
The good: When you come to a place where they respect pasta and regional ingredients so much, high level cooking of is standard. It really is about the glorious pasta, it deserves the love – don’t forget to order the gnoccho fritto either. Thank-you for the compelling lunch Via Emilia.
The bad: The one duff note was the broth from the Turtlèin in brôd, the sauce lacked any broad shouldered depth you’d expect from a “rich broth”.
Would I go again? Yeah
Address: 37A Hoxton Square, Hackney, London N1 6NN