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Thursday, 18 July 2013

The House of Peroni : Experimental Sensation...

Hands up if you like Peroni...? Hands up if you like delicious Italian nosh washed down with scrummy experimental cocktails and all on a charming roof terrace...? Lastly hands up if you like quirky art displays and installations that will blow your pretty little socks off...? If the answer to the above is YES YES YES then boy have I got a recommendation for you!

Last week I was invited to check out The House of Peroni, an Italian inspired pop-up created just for the month of July. I had heard lots of chatter and hype about the space from colleagues so was itching to find a spare evening so I could go along to experience it first-hand. How does the saying go ... 'if you wish for something hard enough it might just happen' ... well that it did because as if by magic, an invite from the very lovely PR popped into my inbox! I accepted immediately and was spoilt even further by being given a plus 2 so I could weave the visit into my evening plans for the week. Nams and Jimmy were my chosen couple so off we headed for an evening of fun...





To give you a bit of background, The House of Peroni project is centred around showcasing a new wave of Italian creative talent from food, drink, design, art to fashion. Fifty years ago, Carlo Peroni was inspired to create the first Italian premium larger, Peroni Nastro Azzurro - to mark this milestone The House of Peroni was born to inspire others to realise their potential and act on their dreams and creative visions. 'The House' was brought to life by a super talented collective of individuals who formed a creative council. This group consisted of fashion designer Carlo Brandelli, Michelin starred chefs Christian and Manual Costardi, drinks innovator and mixologist Gerry Calabrese, product designer Giovanni Alessi Anghini and architect Andrea Morgante. Collectively these six individuals joined forces and dedicated their time to making The House of Peroni a truly awe-inspiring place for guests to see, touch, taste, hang out and immerse themselves in a haven of Italian creativity. 



We kicked out evening off with a round of cocktails - start as you mean to go on, that's what I say. Gerry Calabrese, a reputable London bar scene figure, developed the bespoke cocktail menu boasting six lip-smackingly good cocktails inspired by the four core ingredients of Peroni Nastro Azzurro. We opted for three different tipples and took turns to take sips! We ordered up the 'Nonna Rosa' which is a champagne fuelled cup of heaven with a splash of gin and lemon juice and a pinch of basil with berry addition. At 2.7 units we was pretty merry by the time the last alcoholic drop was consumed. We also ordered a 'Dell'isola' which we dubbed the coca cola cocktail - made from a mix of lemon juice, peach liquor, champagne and Averna. Last but by no means least the 'On Thyme' was bought into our booze-fuelled evening - St.Germain, gin and Martini Bianco infused with blueberries and thyme. Each and every one was totally and utterly moreish! 



Each cocktail featured the signature Peroni Nastro Azzurro reduction which essentially is a syrupy sweet yet boozy concoction. We asked our enthusiastic waiter to talk us through the process in which the secret ingredient was made -
 so they start out with approx. 100 litres of Peroni, this is then heated and muscovado sugar is gradually added until the liquid reduces to about 3-5 litres of syrup. Our kind and attentive waiter treated us to a sample of pure Peroni goodness which we greedily lapped up...



Suitably relaxed by the Peroni infused cocktails we decided food to line our grumbling tummies was most definitely in order. Upon looking at the menu I was struck by the fact that this wasn't normal grub but something unique and like the cocktails, experimental. Michelin starred Italian chef duo, Christian and Manual Costardi have taken traditional Italian dishes and inject a taste sensation twist. Dubbed 'Assagi' meaning 'taste' in Italian the dishes on offer are made using the finest ingredients imported from Italy's Vercelli region. To start we ordered up the Deconstructed Parmigiana - layered aubergine cooked first in a pan, then steamed and served up with buffalo mozzarella alongside the Tricolore Arancino which oozed red risotto rice (a little under cooked for my likely) with mozzarella and green pesto. We were also tempted by the Bruschetta Rewritten - bread, cheese, pork cheek with a raw beef layer – delizioso! 



Whilst we waited for our round of mains we quenched our thirst with another round of cocktails. This time we went for The Bergamo Ice Tea, Summer of 63 and the Blue Ribbon Smash – perfect after dinner summer aperitifs! 




Ten boozy minutes later and our mains arrived. We’d ordered two portions of the Signature Risotto made using coffee powder, Grana Padano cheese and that good old Peroni reduction again - seriously rich but seriously good! 




After copious amounts of fab food and cocktails, the thought of fitting in pudding was somewhat unimaginable BUT we put that thought to the side and embraced out inner piggy opting for the Beer Panna Cotta (the best I have ever tasted FYI) and the Sweet & Salty dessert which was a combo of banana, beer and chocolate - a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips definitely springs to mind where this pud is involved!






But may I add, The House of Peroni has a whole lot more to offer than just scrumptious food and drink. Daily interactive workshops are also hosted and led by members of the creative council and other headline names across the creative arts as well as a design/art exhibition showcasing young Italian talent shaping the creative landscape of tomorrow. Honorary mouse and good friend, Julia McColl actually went along to a talk last night held at ‘The House’ all about the influence Italian fashion has on the Oscars’ red carpet. She will be sharing her experience and insights next week so stay tuned…

The House of Peroni
41 Portland Place
London
W1B 1QH

Open until 31st July

Monday - Thursday: 12pm - 11.30pm
Friday: 12pm - 12.30am
Saturday - Sunday: 12pm - 11.30pm

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