Pulia is a newcomer to the London scene, having opened their first site outside of Italy only a few months ago in one of the capital’s main food hotspots, Borough Market. I had walked past one day with Amber and always meant to come back to try their offering. The occasion presented itself when, via Twitter, I was invited over for a sunday lunch after missing out on a bloggers’ evening while on holiday. I must admit, at that point I wasn’t sure what to make of what felt a bit like a random invite, and turned up one hot mid summer sunday afternoon in my not so best sunday clothes, dog and friend in tow. When I arrived, Pulia’s owners and staff welcomed us (all, yes) inside, where a few other bloggers (including Michael from MindingBelliesWell) were sipping an aperitif and introduced themselves and Pulia to us.
Through a careful selection of ingredients and of the finest Apulian producers, Pulia conveys the culinary traditions of a unique region.
That day, I tried most of the shop’s food, which comes from Pulia region bi-weekly: soft, filled panzerotti (fried dough snacks), cold cuts such as capocollo and ham, lots of sott’oli (olives, tomatoes, artichokes), cheeses and mainly their incredible burrata, as fresh and delicious as if it was just come out of a caseificio. Our afternoon meal was completed by an almond ice coffee (another Pulian specialty) and a moorish, mouthwatering pasticciotto which Georges, the owner, made us try with an aromatic and refreshing mandarin flavoured extra virging olive oil.
Pulia is not just a cafe’ and restaurant; it is also a deli shop where every product is carefully researched and selected, and of course everything comes from the region: wine (I am partial to the Bombino, a light, crisp white), extra virgin olive oil, pasta, crisp bread and tarallini, sott’oli (vegetables, fish).
The venue is also beautifully decorated and again, most fittings come from Puglia too: the cute trullo shaped lampshades; the long table made up of an old wooden ladder; and, my favourite, the white terracotta wall hangings shaped like prickly pears; the room is spacious, bright and welcoming with tones of white washed walls to recreate southern italian sun kissed houses.
Since that day, I have been to Pulia on numerous occasions, whether simply for a coffee with a friend or for events such as Spag Wednesdays by Young&Foodish . It’s been easy to become a regular, such is the friendly welcome on each visit, hospitality one of the key factors at Pulia.
The food has always been very good, with further highlights: the Orecchiette with fresh, sweet tomato sauce and ricotta salata; the Tagliolini with pumpkin cream, black olives pate and stracciata. I have recommended Pulia to many friends and contacts, as the owners and the staff are so passionate about their products, and really committed to let the British public discover a region of Italy that only in the last couple of years has finally got the recognition it really deserves. We visited it ourselves in August this year and I can’t believe it’s taken me more than 30 years to go back, so full of history, art, natural beauty and of course food, olive oil and wine high quality produce.
Pulia are planning more sites across London and in New York; hopefully this won’t mean a loss of quality and care. I need my burrata fix!