Whilst it may appear that the UK has adopted a healthy Italian restaurant scene, most of them are actually about as authentic as a Cornetto. ‘Spag bol’, cheesy crusted pizzas and garlic bread would look about as alien on a traditional Italian family’s table during dinner time as tandoori chicken and Singapore noodles. However, in Su Sazzagoni we have unearthed one of London’s most genuinely authentic Italian experiences. OK, so it’s technically Sardinian, but not since a trip to Sicily have I felt the warm hospitality and delicious flavours of the more rustic parts of the Mediterranean.
The restaurant, café and delicatessen is owned by Elena Sollai, a Sardinian who decided to leave the sunny climes of her home country to the not so exotic East London! With her all Sardinian & Italian team, Elena offers a menu that claims to be 10% Italian and 90% Sardinian. Everything from vegetables, pasta, wines, deli produce and even their cakes are shipped over from her native land.
The ‘experience’ starts from the moment you walk through the door, where you are met with the deli counter selling all kinds of tempting Sardinian meats, cheese, wines and other treats. The venue itself also keeps things authentic, with exposed brickwork, an open kitchen and big wooden furniture to create a genuinely homely feel that you could spend hours in (and we did!). The biggest testament to Su Sazzagoni’s authenticity was the number of Italians and Sardinians dining in the restaurant during our visit.
The menu keeps to its roots by focussing on seafood in a variety of guises, although a number of meat dishes are also available. Outstanding dishes include Squid filled with a seafood pesto, served in a tomato & olives sauce; Fregola ai frutti di mare (a “risotto” like pasta, with calamari, prawns, langoustines, mussels & chilli); and Black ink ravioli filled with fresh crab meat. Truth be told though, even simple things like Garlic foccacia were perfectly executed. Wines too are well worth exploring, with the predominantly Sardinian list providing all kinds of interesting and endlessly quaffable bottles at very reasonable prices.
Cuisine type: Sardinian/Italian
Dinner for two (excluding drinks): £60
136 Lauriston Road,
Victoria Park Village
Tel: 0208 985 8448