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London life, Italian style

Meet the Italians who are celebrating their cultural heritage and combining it with contemporary London style

bar termini, peroni
Time Out in association with Peroni Nastro Azzurro |
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Ever since the Romans pitched up and built a small settlement they called Londinium in 47 AD, Italy has had enduring links to London. ‘Little Italy’ in Clerkenwell dates back to the early 1800s and is home to the nineteenth-century St Peter’s Italian Church, where the annual procession for Our Lady of Mount Carmel in July has a real carnival spirit.

There’s plenty of Italian fare at Terroni of Clerkenwell, where they’ve been selling Italian delicacies since 1878, and you can still slurp some of the best cappuccinos in town in the coffee bars of Soho, favoured hangouts for Vespa-scooting mods in the ’60s.

But there’s more to London Italian life than tradition, as you’ll see if you order a Peroni Nastro Azzurro Piccola in Tony Conigliaro’s Bar Termini in Soho. London cries out for innovation, for exciting new twists that refresh and invigorate, which is where heritage takes on a hip edge as cuisine, fashion and design evolve in the twenty-first century. And the Italians are doing it all with considerable style.

Bocca di Lupo

Bocca di Lupo

Since opening in 2008, Bocca di Lupo has had critics howling in praise of its hearty and authentic cooking that celebrates no less than 20 regions of Italy. There’s artistry in those fresh breads, sausages, salami, pickles, mostarda and pasta, all made from scratch. For a more intimate feel, the cosy Remus Room is also available for private parties for up to 32 guests – or 50 standing – and has its own chef and kitchen serving up a variety of seasonal feasting menus that are perfect for festive festas.

12 Archer St, W1D 7BB. 020 7734 2223. Piccadilly Circus tube. www.boccadilupo.com.

pulia, peroni

Pulia

Fresh from recent openings in Milan, Venice, Turin and Florence, Pulia set up casa among the foodies of Borough Market in early 2015. Having worked in the fashion industry for 30 years with the likes of Alberto Aspesi and Hugo Boss, founder Michele Lastilla combines his design flair with a passion for the Puglian cuisine of the ‘heel’ of Italy. The deli-cum-eatery showcases Puglia’s rich agricultural traditions and best produce, with a mouthwatering selection of small bites like rustici, crocchè di patate and pasticciotti (savoury tarts, croquettes and custard pastries). Expect to find some unusual ingredients such as cime di rapa (broccoli rabe or turnip tops), from the broccoli family but with a slightly bitter taste. Even the interior design uses materials from Puglia to enhance the sensory experience.

36 Stoney St, SE1 9LB. 020 7407 8766. London Bridge tube. www.pulia.it/en.

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italian supper club, peroni

The Italian Supper Club

After a decade living in London, Stefano ‘Toto’ Dell’Aringa and Silvio Pezzana embraced the city lifestyle, but still hankered after one thing. ‘We missed that special Italian tradition of long, meandering mealtimes, sipping wine late into the evening and debating the best type of pasta to eat with ragù,’ says Toto. In 2011, the Italian Supper Club was born, with Toto as head chef and Silvio as sommelier. Their passion, enthusiasm and sense of fun shine through at their pop-up gatherings. Events are themed (past suppers include Venetian and Puglian feasts and ‘A Supper in Red’, a menu of red dishes) and consist of four courses, each with a wine pairing. Lovers of the BrItaly mash-up, they’re not beyond giving guests the occasional surprise such as a glass of sparkling English wine in place of prosecco.

Venues and dates vary; bespoke events available. www.italiansupperclub.co.uk.

lardo, italian, peroni

Lardo

Lardo is a paean to pig fat. And not just any old porcine, either: we’re talking rare-breed Mangalitza pork, from the acclaimed charcuterie artisans at Native Breeds in Gloucestershire. You’ll find rich Italian flavours at this hip Hackney joint, combined with rich global influences. Founder Eliza Flanagan found inspiration on a road trip across America that fired her love of the ‘field to fork’ movement, where provenance and seasonality of produce are key. Lardo’s dishes are created with mostly UK produce and nothing from beyond Europe, including a delicious variety of salume. Since opening in July 2012, they have introduced Coppa, now used as an events space, and Lardo Bebè, offering a takeaway and delivery service.

Lardo, 205 Richmond Rd, E8 3NJ. 020 8985 2683. London Fields rail. www.lardo.co.uk.

Coppa, Hothouse Building, Martello St, E8 3QW. 020 3021 0746. London Fields rail. www.coppalondon.co.uk.

Lardo Bebè, 158 Sandringham Rd, E8 2HS. 020 3021 0747. Hackney Downs rail. www.lardobebe.com.

Bar Termini

Stylish, central and impeccably put together by Marco Arrigo and Tony Conigliaro, there is something truly special about Bar Termini. Great coffee and amazing cocktails are what this place’s reputation is founded on, and it’s no surprise – Arrigo is head of quality for Illy Caffe and Conigliaro’s triumphs at 69 Colebrooke Row and Zetter Town House reflect his reputation as an arch mixologist. As for beer, there’s only one: Peroni Nastro Azzurro Piccola.

7 Old Compton St, W1D 5JE. www.bar-termini.com. Leicester Sq tube.

passione vino, peroni, drink

Passione Vino

The name says it all: passion for wine. You could call the founders Luca Dusi and Federico Bruschetta (former UK sommelier of the year) connoisseurs, such is their immense knowledge, but this is expertise without pomp and ceremony. Sharing a deep love for Italian wines, the Passione Vino duo have a particular affinity for smaller artisan producers. Their mission is to seek out rare and undiscovered wines and introduce them to a discerning and appreciative London audience. Their wine tasting sessions are a must.

85 Leonard St, EC2A 4QZ. 020 3487 0600. Old St tube. www.passionevino.co.uk.

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Vinarius, peroni

Vinarius

With its apt location ‘on the Roman’, Vinarius (Latin for wine merchant) is the perfect mix of Italian heritage and East End edge. The format is a classic Italian enoteca, specialising in authentic wines imported directly from small producers in Italy and France (the owners are two Italians and one Frenchman). There’s an all-day nibbles menu including fresh bread from White Hat Bakery in Bow, wood-roasted coffee from a small Italian roaster and selections from artisanal producers at the pop-up market the Roman Road Food Assembly.

536 Roman Rd, E3 5ES. 020 3302 0123. Bow Church DLR. www.vinarius.london.

il bar bulgaria hotel, peroni, london

Il Bar at the Bulgari Hotel

If you fancy rocking a little old-style Italian glamour – think Gina Lollobrigida and Sophia Loren – hop on your Vespa and head for Il Bar in Knightsbridge. The cool glamour of Il Bar is summed up by its shiny centrepiece, a metal bar created by Italian artisans in tribute to the hammered finish of the delicate silverware of Sortirios Bulgari, founder of the Italian luxury brand. Such chic surroundings scream for a cocktail. Il Bar obliges with a selection including the Apertass, a sparkling mix of prosecco, Aperol and Cedrata. For a crisp and refreshing taste try Peroni Nastro Azzurro.  Cin Cin

171 Knightsbridge, SW7 1DW. 020 7151 1010. Knightsbridge tube. www.bulgarihotels.com.

HEMYCA London

How to cater to the diva demands of catwalk models? Anglo-Italian designers HEMYCA London take an ultra-modern approach by using a bespoke iPad app to create digital holographic images of virtual models to showcase their collection. The London-based luxury womenswear label was launched in 2014 by Helen Clinch and Myra Nigris, who met as students at the London College of Fashion. Both designers embrace their family traditions passed down through generations – Helen’s family worked in Savile Row, while Myra’s family owns an atelier in Italy. The HEMYCA collection fuses the best of British and Italian style, with sharp tailoring, geometric patterns, exceptional attention to detail – and lots of black.   

Available online at Then and Now (www.thenandnowshop.com) and Alt: A Lovely Thing (en.a-lovely-thing.com).

HEMYCA Studio, 193b Whitechapel Rd,
E1 1DN. 020 7655 4950. www.hemyca.com.

les 2 coquettes, switzerland

Les 2 Coquettes

Cute and quirky are bywords for Les2coquettes (L2C), an independent streetwear brand that puts the joie de vivre into la dolce vita. The brainchild of best friends L'ali Silvestri and Carolina Galeazzi, L2C’s mission is to create fashion to make you smile. Their designs are fresh, clear and simple: black and white, pastel colours and original graphics, with a signature of playful illustrations. Based in Shoreditch, their vibe is urban, but much of their inspiration hails from their homeland. ‘Our main inspiration is our everyday life, but we are also influenced by our sunny Italian roots,’ say Les2C. ‘We’re also inspired by a nice glass of Terracruda (Italian wine from the Marche), a pizza margherita and old Italian songs.’

Les2Coquettes is available at Iconoclast on Brick Lane, and their online store at www.etsy.com/shop/Les2coquettes.

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wolf + badger, peroni, fashion

Wolf + Badger

When it comes to fashion, London has its Italian haute couture big hitters: Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani and Versace. But for upcoming talent, Wolf + Badger have made it their business to showcase exciting rising stars. Their concept store on Dover Street stocks Arianna Cerrito, whose designs, featuring bold asymmetric lines and quirky details, are an innovative fusion of clothing and jewellery. My Pair of Jeans brings a fresh take on denim, focused on print and colour as well as cut. Wolf + Badger’s online offering also includes fine handmade leather goods by Ascoli 1908 and cotton shirts with a contemporary edge by Made 4 – Manifattura Italiana.

32 Dover St, W1S 4NE. 020 3627 3191. Green Park tube. www.wolfandbadger.com.

40 Colori

This family-owned men’s accessories brand is a pretty new arrival to London but it’s first boutique here (in Shoreditch) is a wonderland of patterns and colour – as the name suggests. Their collection reflects classic styles as well as more modern looks and everything is hand-crafted in their own artisanal factory in Lake Como.

32, Cheshire Street, E2 6EH. www.40colori.com. Shoreditch High Street Overground.

cinema italia UK, peroni

Cinema Italia UK

There’s plenty of innovation in contemporary Italian filmmaking. The monthly Cinema Italia screenings at the Genesis Cinema in Mile End feature new releases (subtitled, not dubbed) and award-winning films like ‘The Art of Happiness’, which won Best Animated European Feature at the European Film Awards. There are also occasional classics to commemorate anniversaries and Q&A sessions with directors and actors. Every screening is followed by Italian wine and regional food, all included in the ticket price.

93-95 Mile End Rd, E1 4UJ. Stepney Green tube.020 7780 2000. www.cinemaitaliauk.co.uk.

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Italian Cultural Institute

The Instituto Italiano di Cultura is one of the go-to places for all things Italian in London. The Institute’s calendar of cultural events covers art, music, cinema, theatre, dance, fashion, design, architecture, photography, literature and food. They also run language courses from beginner to advanced levels (with free taster lessons) and have a reference and lending library with 25,000 books, DVDs and CDs, and educational material if your passion for Italia takes you on a more academic trajectory.

39 Belgrave Square, SW1X 8NX. Hyde Park Corner tube.020 7235 1461. www.icilondon.esteri.it.

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estorick collection, peroni

Estorick Collection

A life of travel and mingling with artists, politicians and Hollywood stars inspired American sociologist and writer Eric Estorick’s love of Italian modern art. Over the years, Estorick amassed an impressive collection, based on an internationally renowned core of Futurist works. Tucked away in Canonbury like a hidden art treasure, the Estorick Collection is Britain’s only gallery devoted to modern Italian art, housing some 120 paintings, drawings, watercolours, prints and sculptures by prominent Italian artists of the Modernist era. There is also a lovely garden and Italian Caffè, with delicacies from biscotti and panini to pasta and frittata.

Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, 39a Canonbury Square, N1 2AN. 020 7704 9522. Highbury & Islington tube. www.estorickcollection.com.

Visions of Paradise at the National Gallery
The National Gallery Photographic Department

Visions of Paradise at the National Gallery

They were an artistic bunch in Florence back in the fifteenth century, when the city had more woodcarvers than butchers and the likes of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were pioneering the polymath principles of excelling in multiple fields. One such Renaissance man was Matteo Palmieri: apothecary, philosopher, historian, poet, politician and buddy of the Medici rulers of Florence, who commissioned artist Francesco Botticini to create the monumental painting known as the Palmieri Altarpiece. This free exhibition explores Palmieri’s fascinating life and gives art lovers the chance to view Botticini’s masterpiece up close with its stunning panoramic landscape of Florence, below a celestial dome filled with angels and saints. Nov 4-Feb 14 2016.

National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN. Charing Cross tube. www.nationalgallery.org.uk.

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