Trufflesecco, in Camden, does exactly what it says on the tin (or bottle) – truffles and Prosecco! It was a tough gig having to schlep down to sample these offerings for ourselves (!) but somebody had to do it.
If the name wasn’t enough to give it away, there’s no doubt what’s on offer in Trufflesecco the moment you walk in the door, as the sumptuous, pungent aroma hits you immediately. Distinctive, overpowering and delicious.
There are many a culinary crossbreed that have taken root in London – Bubbledogs, Burger & Lobster, Chick n’ Sours to name but a few – but the pairing offered by this Camden bar-come-restaurant seem made for each other: a perfect complement of light elegance and rich indulgence, both sophisticated and refreshingly playful.
Bearing this in mind, it’s somewhat surprising to discover that Trufflesecco is the only place of its kind in London. In fact, when it opened in April 2016 it was the first dedicated Prosecco bar in the capital, full-stop.
'We feel the idea works really well,’ co-founder Irina Lily, 31, tells us as we salivate over our deliciously creamy starter of burrata with truffle shavings. ‘There are lots of family-run Italian restaurants in London that are similar, but we wanted to do something different. We have many Italian customers who say it’s a very authentic place.'
The idea emerged following a trip to Florence by Irina’s sister and co-founder, Lana, who was inspired by the concept of ‘aperitif o’clock’, when Italians would flock to local eateries for wine and antipasto in the early evening.
The sisters, who are originally from Moscow, decided to recreate their own version of this in London. However, they swiftly realised they would need a few adjustments to appeal to the more gluttonous British consumer.
‘People wanted more food!’ Irina laughs. ‘So now we have a bigger menu and people come for dinner as well as just a snack.’
As we tuck eagerly into our main courses of ‘Trufflesecco pasta’ (the signature dish of fresh pasta with truffle shavings) and parmigiana (baked aubergines, tomatoes and mozzarella), we can’t help feeling grateful for this decision.
The food is superb – succulent and flavoursome, without being cloying– and all the better for being washed down with a glass of extra dry fizz,which tickles the taste buds and cleanses the palate.
Irina seems passionate about the simple philosophy behind Trufflesecco: ‘the celebration of everyday life in style’. The bar is stylish but unpretentious – a kind of urban chic, with exposed brickwork, polished concrete and endless racks of plonk – and feels like an oasis of calm among the bustle of Camden High Street.
‘We wanted a place that was beautiful but affordable, so everyone feels welcome,’ Irina says. ‘We’ve been to some really expensive places where you literally get one shaving of truffle and we’re like, “Come on, guys!” I doubt you’ll find any truffle pasta in London as good as ours for £15.’
They only use ‘high quality products’, Irina insists, and never freeze the luxury fungi like some places ‘as it affects the flavour’. This is impressive, as it is imported from Umbria, Italy, and doesn’t come cheap – especially in dry seasons, like the last one.
We leave Trufflesecco sated and sold, with the afterglow that comes from an evening of shameless excess.
Our only regret comes from not having enough room to fit in the cheese platter, complete with gorgonzola, taleggio, pecorino and Umbriaco Prosecco (‘drunken cheese’ doused in the sparkly stuff) – and from forgetting to buy any breath mints...
DO: Pace yourself so you can make it through to the Truffle au Chocolate dessert (it’s worth it).
DON’T: Go if you don’t like truffles or Prosecco (if such people exist?)
Enjoy a 15% discount on food & drink!
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