Thursday, 11 August 2011

Lunch musings (and Veneticus)

So while I attempt to dine at just a few of London’s hottest places, I actually eat at home more week nights than I don't. And except for the rare occasions I have anything left I am inclined to bring to work, lunch is realistically where most of my eating out happens.

Of course I’m not interested in blogging Pret or Eat (and nobody is interested in reading about them), but I do think there is a place for the upper end of quick, cheap weekday lunch spots. 

Some can be really quite good –the old marketing adage states that of quality, price and time, you can only ever choose two. But I’d disagree, and the lunch trade in London is extremely diverse and sophisticated, and ever improving with more street food, markets and open minds about what lunch can constitute. Yesterday’s sushi is today’s burrito – and sandwiches have evolved into gourmet treats too. 

I’m aware that I do have some rather esteemed company following this blog, to whom I am very grateful. Yet even the blogerati of London’s hotspots surely have boring or at least average lunches for more days that they are nibbling away at spicy pizzette?

Food blogs are as pluralistic as diners and cover many different styles. Some people have a huge talent for theoretical food writing and technical cookery blurb, others integrate their own recipes or do travel excellently. Here at TPT, I’m trying to be a realist and write an honest food blog which represents my life and times (!) rather than exclude 80% of my meals to deceptively present something more aspirational or fantastical. 

So I admit to having ordinary lunches, taking rubbish pictures, drinking too much to remember my meal the next day and I do genuinely look forward to airports so I have an excuse for my bi-annual McDonalds! 

As I said, I won’t be blogging every dodgy sandwich bar in Farringdon but there are some decent eateries worth mentioning, and we all need fuel to last the afternoon. So you could do a lot worse than try Veneticus. It’s a deli near the Leather Lane bit of Clerkenwell Road, and has quite a few tables set up for diners.

fairly pointless picture showing about a quarter of the space
The staff are true Italians; exuberant and passionate about food and company, and the quality here is top notch. There isn’t a menu per se, but you can have panini, ciabatte and focaccie (did I get my plurals right?) made up from all of the fantastic ingredients from the deli counter. The meats are sliced to order, and the bread is baked there too.

the beast - each segment of prosciutto is about three slices thick!
For £4-5, you can do extremely well. My olive focaccia with gargantuan slabs of smoked buffalo mozzarella was packed to the rafters with more San Daniele that you would get at a deli for a fiver. I was astonished – the pic doesn’t do it justice but the whole sandwich had at least ten slices. I almost felt guilty at the amount of meat. But not quite... Accompanied with cherry tomatoes, a spicy balsamic they sell in the shop and so much cheese it spilled out, it was a challenge to finish.

The food store is quite comprehensive for both fresh deli produce and Italian groceries, with an amazing selection of wines (you can also have wine and beer in the café), good coffee and gelato made on site. Not too shabby for a quick working lunch at all…
Veneticus on Urbanspoon

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