Il Cudega, Hackney, is the brainchild of old friends and supremely welcoming patrons Luca and Giovanni. Tucked away in a London Fields railway arch, this elegant deli-cum-restaurant specialises in carefully sourced produce and makes a persuasive case for the region’s culinary excellence. Closing at 6pm, it’s very much a lunch spot, but has a steady flow or regulars coming in to pick up charcuterie meats and cheeses throughout the day.
The menu offers a range of delights, all of which you can see being prepared behind the counter. The Carpaccio Celtico antipasto is an early highlight of our meal: a delicate cut of juniper-smoked Chianina beef served on a bed of raspadura shavings. But it’s the pumpkin and barley risotto that really steals the show: a gloriously silky dish served with crispy Burola. Every ingredient is chosen with the utmost attention to detail, and the pumpkins are of a rare, subtly flavoured variety, sealed with wax before they reach full maturity. The wine list is well-curated, with bottles to suit every dish.
The dolce meet the promise of the earlier courses, breathing new life into old classics from tiramusu to rice pudding. We particularly recommend the Zabaione del Ciclista. Egg yolk and sugars served atop a shot of espresso, it’s a deliciously nostalgic tribute to a favourite dish from the owners’ youth.
Il Cudega manages to be both inviting and adventurous. Showcasing Lombardy’s many culinary treasures, it’s an excellent place for a leisurely lunch and a very worthy addition to London Fields’ burgeoning restaurant scene.
|What||Il Cudega review|
|Where||Il Cudega, 358 Westgate Street, London, E8 3RL | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Bethnal Green (underground)|
02 Sep 15 – 02 Sep 17, 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here to visit Il Cudega website|