Spaghetti House

When I think of somewhere new and exciting to eat, Spaghetti House is not one to immediately spring to mind. I do occasionally go to chain restaurants as they often have great deals, but the food can sometimes be safe and a little too much like something I could make at home. So when I was approached to attend a blogger event at the oldest Spaghetti House to try some of the food, watch demonstrations and learn about the brand, I jumped at the chance. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and freshness of the food which made it stand out.

The event took place in the Goodge Street branch of Spaghetti House where I was taken to the third floor which had an open feel. I initially thought this area was specifically for demonstrations or events, but the relaxed vibe could also be taken in during a normal meal. I learned that the place was established in 1955 and was originally a house of which they owned the ground floor. With Italian food being a rarity, it proved to be a popular haunt and they soon took over the whole building. Only the top level is not used as part of the restaurant, but is designed as a work area, allowing business meetings to take place.

We were welcomed with some presecco and the chef soon started his demonstrations. Each month, Spaghetti House use a seasonal ingredient to create their specials and we were shown the May special, Asapargus. They use Norfolk asparagus which can grow 10cm each day if in the right conditions. The first dish we were shown was the classic risotto. Spaghetti House only use Carnaroli rice as it works with all kinds of ingredients and produces a creamy starchy texture.
After sauteing some onions and smashed garlic and feeding the rice with white wine and asparagus stock, they then use a compound butter (butter made from whichever is the main ingredient in the risotto) and cheese to finish. The soft fat and hard fat emulsify to give an amazing texture and by using every last piece of asparagus in the making of the dish, it produced a delicious strong risotto.
To cater for a vareity of dietry needs, Spaghetti House also include gluten free dishes on their menu, and we were given the opportunity to try the gnocchi. It was a colourful mix of potato, purple potato, spinach & ricotta, tomato & pepper and mushroom.

Made with a simple sage a butter sauce and topped with crispy sage leaves (which are quickly deep fried) this was a winner in my books. You can taste the individual flavours of the gnochhi which are bought together with the amazingly simple sauce. 

Then we were seated and had a wealth of other dishes to try. The meats and breads were delicious, but my favourite was broadbean and mint dip (pasticcio de fava) which was light and fresher than guacamole but with a similar texture.
We also got to try the asparagus fettuchine with marscapone and achovies as a salt substitute which was one of my favourites.
We also got to try the superfood salad consisting of a roast breast of chicken in spicy n'djua marinade, boiled hen egg, spinach, alfalfa sprouts, pomegranate, farro, avocado, trevisse, raw beet, omega seeds with roast butternut dip. The chicken was the hero of this dish and would love to have it on its own as salad is something I would not normally order out.
The last main we tried was the Clam Linguine sourced from Ireland. With a small amount of chilli, there was a nice kick to go with the clams. (This is was delicious the next day for leftovers as well)

To round off the whole evening, we were served Affogato and limoncello. I am not a huge fan of coffee but the limoncello was great and definitely made my journey home a little tougher.
We were given a goodie bag to take home which included all the ingredients and the recipe to make out own pesto spaghetti...so expect that review to appear on the blog soon...

Overall the whole experience was one that made me want to revisit. I was impressed by the freshness of their ingredients and the way they pride themselves to never cook anything from frozen. This really shows in their food and teamed with the attention to detail on the flavouring (such as the asparagus butter and asparagus stock), Spaghetti House really proved to stand out from other chain food restaurants.
A huge thank you to Stefana (the owners daughter), Luisa and Anand for hosting such a great event and to chef Chris O'Neill for opening my eyes to the flavour and freshness that Spaghetti House strive for.

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