Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Tasting Sicily UK ... Enzo's Kitchen

Photo credit: Flora Luna Photography
Sicily is where Europe ends and Africa begins. It began its history as part of Ancient Greece and soon became part of the Roman Empire. Thereafter the island was invaded by the Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, French, Spanish and Bourbons before unifying with Italy. Each conquest left its mark on the island including its cuisine.

When in London I miss and crave Sicilian food, so I was super delighted when a new restaurant was due to open in London's Piccadilly called 'Tasting Sicily Enzo's Kitchen'.

Tasting Sicily UK was born from an existing company founded fifteen years ago named Gusta la Sicilia (Tasting Sicily) and its goal is to spread the Sicilian taste worldwide.

Enzo's Kitchen has been created by the esteemed chef Enzo Oliveri who was born in Palermo and moved to England in the 1990's. He is also known as "The Sicilian Chef" and owns several restaurants in the UK including, Sicily in Epsom Surrey and Olivenzo in Bromley Kent. He starred in the television series "Sicily with Aldo & Enzo" with fellow celebrity chef Aldo Zilli and also with Gordon Ramsay on Channel 4 in "F Word goes Octopus Hunting in Sicily", and hot off the press this week is that Enzo is now the President of the FIC UK (Federation of Italian Chefs in the UK). Congratulations to Enzo.

I was desperate to visit the restaurant and sample the tempting looking dishes that I had seen on their Instagram account and so my lovely friend Francesca Marchese, who is a Sicilian journalist living in London, put me in touch with the restaurant manager Luisa Ingoglia. Together with another friend, Laura founder of Aeolian Adventures we set a date to book a table.

Tasting Sicily Enzo's Kitchen is located where a restaurant called The Stockpot once stood. The Stockpot was very popular and was famous for its gastronomic breakfasts. I know this because I was a frequent visitor from when working in Central London.

The outside of the new restaurant is enticing and the logo is inspired by the Carretto Siciliano (the Sicilian cart and horse).

On arrival Luisa and her lovely husband Andrea welcomed us with a delicious crisp glass of prosecco and yummy marinated Sicilian olives.

Before we ate Luisa gave us a tour of the restaurant. The d├ęcor has a bright, fresh and modern style with a long bar and a seating area at the back. The walls are adorned with beautiful hand painted works of art by a young Sicilian artist Lia Coniglione, which depict re-enactments of the Paladin, Norman and Saracen sword fights from sixteenth century Sicily and behind the bar there are shelves heaving with the best Sicilian wines and Tasting Sicily jars of produce. The tables are made from lava stone from the town of Giarre which sits on the lower slopes of Mount Etna and they are hand painted in a typical Sicilian style. There is also a large TV screen with a slide show of their dishes to tempt you and make your mouth water.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have an obsession with Sicilian majolica tiles therefore I totally fell in love with the staircase leading up to the second floor which draws inspiration from the Santa Maria del Monte stairway in the Sicilian city of ceramics Caltagirone which has 142 steps each decorated with a different design of majolica tiles. Next to the stairs on the wall was another of my favourites a hand painted Sicilian cart wheel. Love, love .......

As you ascend the stairs on the left side of the wall there are more beautiful tiles and nine stunningly hand decorated plates each representing one of the nine Provinces of Sicily. Upstairs can be used for private celebrations, family reunions, charity events, parties and corporate dining. This floor boasts some of Sicily's most traditional pieces of artwork including Moorish heads, Figurines, Pupi (Sicilian puppets), and Coffa's (Sicilian straw bags). All the ceramics and tiles in the restaurant are from Santa Stefano di Camastra which is another town on the northern coast of the island also famous for its beautiful ceramics.
Enzo Oliveri "The Sicilian Chef"
Photo Credit: Flora Luna Photography

Luisa, Andrea and their team are the perfect hosts and offer special care and attention to all their customers. You can see that they are passionate about their restaurant and of course their homeland of Sicily. Luisa joined us for dinner and we had a good chat about all things Sicilian.

So what did we eat?

We all opted for the Antipasto Tasting Sicily sharing platter which is one of Chef Enzo's signature dishes. On being served by our delightful waiter the dish was full of Sicilian antipasti, a selection of cured meats, Tasting Sicily caponata, sweet and sour pumpkin, olives, crostini with Tasting Sicily pates, pecorino cheese, asparagus and artichoke hearts. It was delicious.

For main course ... another one of my Sicilian obsessions is Salsiccia (Sicilian sausage) so I ordered Risotto Montagnola (creamy rice tossed with Sicilian sausage and mushrooms), Laura opted for Pasta del Commissario Montalbano (bucatini pasta with sardines, wild fennel, onions, raisins and pine nuts) which is a very Arabic inspired dish. Luisa chose one of Chef Enzo's signature pasta dishes, Casarecce con Guanciale di Suino Nero dei Nebrodi e Pistachio di Bronte (Pasta with Nebrodi cured Black Pig Cheeks and Tasting Sicily Pistachio Pesto from Bronte, a town famous for its pistachio production).

We all sampled each others dishes and each one was sublime and made our taste buds explode. On closing your eyes you feel like you are sitting in a restaurant in Sicily. Luisa told me that when Sicilians eat there they say that they really do feel like they are back home on their beautiful island.

We had eaten so much that we decided to forfeit dessert and I asked Luisa if could take some Cannoli home with me (Cannoli another obsession). Cannoli are sweet pastry tubes filled with sweetened ricotta cheese and garnished with Pistachio.

What did we drink?

To accompany our meal Luisa chose a delicious Sicilian white wine, a Grillo Cavallo delle Fate Sicilia DOC 2015 from the Tasca d'Almerita winery. After dinner we sampled Liquore di Fico di India (prickly pear) and Liquore di Arancia (orange) produced by Terralcantara, both different tastes to each other but both totally scrumptious.

Tasting Sicily Enzo's kitchen has a warm and welcoming atmosphere and I would highly recommend a visit for anyone from your first time trying Sicilian food to Sicilian food lovers, people planning a holiday or those who have enjoyed a memorable time on the island and want to bring back nostalgic memories. Its central location makes it an ideal place to eat for pre-theatre shows or why not just sit at the bar for a quick bite and a glass of wine.

Last week they have just started opening for breakfast and following in the footsteps of the previous occupants there are two menus, the traditional Stockpot menu and a Sicilian breakfast menu.

Luisa has a lot of amazing ideas and projects in the pipeline and starting next week you can enjoy live music, every Thursday from 7:30pm to 11pm the restaurant welcomes amazing artists performing live. Click and like their Facebook page for updates

Myself and Laura had an utterly fabulous experience and both went home with our Cannoli knowing that, yet again, as is always the Sicilian way that we had made new friends for a lifetime. A big thank you to Luisa and her team.

For restaurant reservations visit
or call +44 (0)207 839 5142

You can find them at:
38 Panton Street, London SW1Y 4EA

For more information on Enzo Oliveri, visit

For more information on Tasting Sicily products, visit

Now for a taste of true Sicilian hospitality in London enjoy this video of the
Tasting Sicily UK Enzo's Kitchen
launch party earlier this year:

White Almond Sicily
Photo Gallery

Marinated Olives

Moorish Heads

Sicilian Pupi (Puppets)

Tasting Sicily Produce

Sicilian Coffa

Carretto Siciliano (wheel)

an abundance of Wine

Lava Stone Table

The Nine Provinces of Sicily

Upstairs Area

Sicily Time

Valley of the Temples, Agrigento

The Greek Theatre Taormina and Mount Etna

Love these Stairs

Downstairs Dining

Downstairs Area

Handpainted Works of Art


Grillo by Tasca Winery



Risotto with Sicilian Sausage and Mushrooms

Casarecce Pasta with Nebrodi cured Black Pig Cheek
and Bronte Pistachio Pesto

Bucatini with sardines, Wild Fennel, Onions,
Raisins and Pine Nuts

Prickly Pear and Orange Liquor

with Luisa manager of Enzo's Kitchen

with Laura of Aeolian Adventures

Sicily Girl Power in London

Takeaway Cannoli at Home

White Almond Sicily Loves ........
Discover the true taste of Sicily in the stunning
Aeolian Islands with Laura of Aeolian Adventures

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