Our vicarious trip round the globe made another stop in Sardinia last night as we rocked up to Stoke Newington’s third Il Bacio for a quick supper. We had 45 minutes to spare and we wanted to experience the island without suffering Michael O’Leary’s extended sales pitch (hot and cold sandwiches, fake cigarettes, scratch cards, Change For Children, baggage allowance only £35 an item to you sir)*.
On the whole the newish venture (converted from their former seafood place) stepped up to the challenge. While I wonder how many Italian families sit round red check tables under the gaze of the Godfather gangsters, what was put in front of us certainly reflected Sardinia and brought the flavours of the place to my face without the Ryanair disgrace (did I nearly rap there?).
Anchovy pizza bites were salty and crunchy and smacked of tomato tang. They, along with the ciabatta chunks, thin flatbread and olive oil / balsamic puddle, were cheap at half the price (which was nothing), and amphoras of iced water were brought forth too.
Bread and water – so far so prison food. Bring on the wild boar. Mine came diced and tangled with the hardest spaghetti I’ve ever seen anyone get away with. It was al dente in extremis. It nearly broke my teeth. I could eat it every night. The boar was a tough little piggy but not too tough and swam in rich tomato with a broken branch of rosemary perched on top – the first time I’ve eaten it this dressed up for dinner. Zola pizza, meanwhile, came shaped like a tennis racket, dotted with mild jalapeños, cheese that shied from expressing itself and more sliced pig. It was OK but I’ve had better at the larger sister branches. Incidentally, it’s named after the island’s most famous footballer Gianfranco Zola. Perhaps if they’d looked to Émile Zola for inspiration it might have had more bite. Although I guess it would leave a disconcerting aftertaste. Wine still didn’t convince me of the region’s boozey merits. It was strong but lacked any depth – the vineyard Alex Reid.
I do love Il Bacio though. It’s fun, fine food (I’ll be back for the Gnocchetti Madonna with chicken liver and sweet pepper as soon as I can get away with it) and much warmer than Su Sazzagoni (read the controversial lowdown on that place here). And while they’re bringing a corner of Sardinia to Stokey I’m happy to forgo the budget hop over there.
Price per head: £15.50
Soundtrack:‘Mrs Robinson’ performed on Spanish guitar.
Clientele: Not many on a Tuesday – mostly local denizens.