Famous for both its top-drawer takeaways and unique black base Pizza Nera made using vegetable charcoal, CULTO is a cosy restaurant and kitchen serving authentic Italian food, prepared in house by experienced Italian chefs including “celebrity pizzaiolo” Carmelo.
Make like a local and order an Aperol Spritz while you decide on your eats. Starters inspired by the mother country include the Sicilian speciality caponata – a kind of sweet and sour aubergine-heavy ratatouille with celery, onions, olives and capers in DOP San Marzano tomato sauce – and two types of arancini breaded risotto balls: beef Bolognese and mushroom and truffle. The classics continue with lasagna and linguini carbonara, made using egg yolk, Parmesan and Italian pancetta, and there’s some parcels: ravioloni with Ricotta di Bufala and spinach, and ravioli di astice, which is filled with lobster purée and served in a langoustine sauce and sprinkled with fresh parsley. Squid and tiger prawns with garlic, basil and cherry tomatoes is one of three dishes using strascinati, a concave, oblong pasta originating in Puglia and Basilicata, and not dissimilar to orecchiette “ears”. The pizzas are hand stretched and stone baked, and, in contrast to the Pizza Nera, there’s Mimmo u Curtu: a white base pizza topped with mozzarella, Buffalo mozzarella and Mortadella sausage. There are calzone folded numbers and there’s the Carmelo (him again!), featuring Italian imported sliced shoulder of ham, mushrooms, sliced tomato and mozzarella. Vegetarians have choices, including the Funghi Tartufo with black truffle if you’re feeling extra boujee, and you can’t go far wrong with a Fiorentina.
For afters, if you need to scratch that chocolate itch, there’s mousse and profiteroles, but we’ve got our noses pressed up against the dessert fridge glass gazing at the tiramisu and the homemade Sicilian cannoli. Aside from a Chilean Malbec, all the wine is Italian, and pretty reasonable price-wise.
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