Rushed, pre-show dinners aren’t easy for a coeliac, especially in Soho where almost every restaurant has a no bookings policy.
So when La Polenteria opened on Old Compton Street me and my coealic buddy Ed rejoiced. A 100% gluten free Italian that takes reservations OMG!
As it turns out, we OMGed too soon. La Polenteria may be gluten free but it tastes bad and a bottle of Daura Damm (gluten free Estrella) cost £6 each!
Unfortunately because I was in a hurry to see a show (Marcus Brigstocke at the Soho Theatre), I didn’t have a chance to take any photos so I will attempt to describe the disappointment for you.
I had the parmigiana with burrata mousse served with crispy polenta. Unfortunately what arrived was not a parmigiana but 2 slices of rubbery aubergine, 3 sun-dried tomatoes and a soggy polenta crisp. The burrata mousse was nice but not nice enough to save the dish.
Properly made parmigiana is one of my favourite meals ever, there’s an easy recipe on the BBC Good Food website, which smashes La Polenteria’s version out of the water.
My friends had the poached spicy egg with polenta croutons with a tomato and garlic infusion (not spicy) and olives, bread and oil – which bizarrely was actually a plate of crudités with about 5 olives scattered on top and supermarket sliced gluten free bread. Outrageous when you can buy really amazing gluten free sour dough from Ocado.
Most of us ordered the home made beef ravioli with balsamic reduction, pine nuts and raisins, which was fine but not very warm or very big. One friend had the polenta with stewed beef, which looked lovely until we realised the polenta had developed a skin from being sat under a hot light for too long.
Needless to say we didn’t stick around for dessert, just paid up and legged it to Patisserie Valerie for some of their gluten free brownies, which we didn’t realise they even did.
As well as this gluten free revelation we also found out the The Crown and Two Chairman on Dean Street stocks Duara Damm too and is much cheaper than La Polenteria.
So not a completely disastrous night out in Soho.