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Chef Roberto Tonzanu, who worked with Gennaro Contaldo (Jamie Oliver’s mate and mentor) for several years, now has his own place in this former pub in Barnsbury. Tonzanu and most of his staff are Sardinian, and ingredients and dishes from that island feature prominently on the menu.
Bottarga – fish roe cured in brine, then dried – is an ingredient prized for its intense fish flavour (with slight off-notes), its saltiness and its waxy texture. Here, generous slivers are combined with shavings of fennel bulb and celery for a taste that transports you straight to Sardinia.
Fregola is another speciality, an oversized couscous that betrays Sardinia’s close historical links to north Africa. Tenore’s fregola is cooked with a mussel and clam broth and topped with prawn and langoustine.
Pizzas are stone-baked in a wood-fired oven; they have a good, crisp crust but are wafer-thin and slightly elastic through the centre. Ours was topped with high-quality ingredients: avocado, goat’s cheese, tomato and buffalo mozzarella.
There’s an enticing, all-Italian wine list too. Service is sweet: a little too sweet, on the night of our visit, to deal firmly with a drunken intruder.
14 Barnsbury Road
|Transport:||Tube: Angel tube or bus 73|
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