Brick Lane’s graffiti-decorated walls and beigel-scoffing wanderers hardly conjure images of the rolling Tuscan hills – but that’s just what Enoteca Pomaio is looking to do at the northern end of the colourful street. This restaurant and wine bar is connected to Tuscany’s organic Podere di Pomaio vineyard. You don’t really get that vibe from the stripped walls and white paint. You can see they’ve gone for the rustic look, but while the wine-heavy bar feels inviting, the restaurant feels more ‘kitchen showroom’ than Italian osteria thanks to the stark lighting and chilly temperature.
What does feel very European is the sunny welcome. We were the only English-speaking diners on our visit, and the wine list carried unapologetic Italian headings, but the staff were more than happy to explain the Pomaio ethos and offer recommendations on vino from Tuscany and beyond.
As for the food, bruschetta and simple Italian small plates complement the plonk and match the rustic look, with rough-hewn chunks of bread topped with huge helpings. Flavours start on-point, with an interesting cauliflower, lurid green asparagus purée and guanciale bruschetta packing a garlicky punch. Truffle gnocchi smelled divine, but lacked the depth of flavour to back it up. And wild boar ragu, while delicious, was accompanied by two disappointingly stodgy chunks of fried polenta.
My advice? Stick to a warming glass of organic wine with Italian meats and treats at the bar above.