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It’s all about Puglia at this “great rustic Italian”, and there are echoes of the coastal region (aka Italy’s ‘heel’) in Ostuni’s white stone walls, tiled floors and all-round rustic charm – doubly so if you’re on the terrace with the sun shining. The open-to-view kitchen turns out good stuff from its wood-fired oven; go for the full-on arrosto pugliese if you can’t make up your mind. Puglia is a major grower of durum wheat, and orecchiette pasta is the regional star, perhaps dressed with bitter rapa greens, chilli, garlic and salted anchovies; otherwise try the spaghettone with crab if it’s in season. Additional tempters might range from wood-roast calf’s liver with pancetta parcels and pickled courgettes to monkish and cuttlefish brodetto, while afters include Puglian biscuits, Puglian cheeses and sgroppino (lemon sorbet with Prosecco and vodka). Not surprisingly, Puglia also dominates when it comes to the all-Italian wine list.
Ostuni opened its doors in 2013 to the citizens of Queen’s Park as London’s first restaurant focussing on the food and wine of Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot. The restaurant is named after a hilltop town known as the ‘white town’ and in 2016 a second Ostuni opened in Highgate, another hilltop town, to spread the word to north Londoners who can afford Italian heels on their feet as well as their plates. To celebrate the opening owner Rob Claassen travelled to the mountainous Murgia region of Puglia to source black truffles. To celebrate the truffle season he created a ‘tartufo’ menu available from October until...
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