The month of August had seen a bit of a break at the Belgrave in terms of major food goings-on, without Street Feast and Laynes brunch as Beacons Festival took the deserved attention of the parties involved. Well this evening was the start of the food event to put that right with Stuzzi’s Kitchen Takeover!
Who are Stuzzi? – a team of four named Harvey, Tom, Jimbob and James. If you’ve been to Salvo’s Salumeria you may have seen some of these guys before as this is where Tom, Jimbob and Harvey learned their trade, developing this passion for Italian food.
What’s the concept? – small plates of goodness based on Italian classics, produced using the best sustainable, seasonal ingredients from Italy treated simply.
Menu – The guys at Stuzzi had been tempting people for the last couple of months with photos of their delights on social media, so when they published their menu, I literally thought I’d died and gone to heaven! Arancini balls….filled with ragu! Fritto Misto – you know how much I love deep fried stuff! Meatballs – which carnivore doesn’t love a good meatball, I make a killer meatball dish at home, but this was special! It went on….
The Stuzzichini Misto sharing box (£15) was ALWAYS going to be the way to go for my friend Alice and I, and after just a few minutes our food was brought over in a box, all laid out just wanting to be devoured! As usual after a barrage of photos, I have to apologise to Alice as I always go overboard, we dove in.
I thought we should go for the seafood dishes first as I didn’t want to give any residual heat the chance to toughen up our food. A quick squeeze of Amalfi lemon over the Fritto Misto and we were off!! We started off onto a winner – prawns were juicy, the squid was perfectly cooked, and needed only the slightest amount of pressure before it gave way in the mouth, lightly crisp on its exterior. Whitebait were gone in a few seconds and capers scattered generously gave a decent whack of additional seasoning where needed. Aioli goes perfectly with the dish and was decent, smooth and had lots of flavour. My only slight gripe was the fried courgettes were a little soft, just because they were underneath. Probably not the easiest to eat, but I suppose that what hands are there for.
Next up was the Seppia Nero, even though we didn’t eat this straight away the cuttlefish remained tender and hadn’t become chewy. Quite a rich dish, it was great for sharing and we loved the bread it came with!
Pasta was our third course – Orecchiete with N’Duja to be exact, the al dente pasta was covered with a well flavoured tomato sauce, sweetness came from red onion and there a warming heat from the N’Duja, which as expected melted into the tomato sauce. It certainly gave my cheeks a bit of a glow.
Meatballs followed – now these were a little different than the norm, as these gems were made with beef and Mortadella in a rich tomato sauce, once again a gentle heat accompanied them. More than adequate in terms of size, it was great to see that they were moist throughout, whilst still being packed with meat and flavour!
Oh no, this was our last course….but we ended on a good one! The Arancini, these bad boys are made with saffron risotto filled with a meat ragu. Not only do I love risotto, I love ragu and they are covered breadcrumbs and fried….come on!!!! These were absolutely delicious and during the first bite I was already being a little embarrassing and saying how good they were. The risotto was unctuous and paired brilliantly with the ragu, both had their parts to play and didn’t overshadow the other. I was gutted I had to share and could easily have popped a few more in my mouth before going home.
We also got chance to have a little bit of snackage (don’t think it’s a real word, but who cares), on their puffed pig skin. Crackling to me is one of the best things ever and this was crisp, salty and yummy!
We didn’t order the Zeppole, but I tried a little taster and it was light and moreish, an Italian deep fried doughnut covered in cinnamon sugar.
I thought it was great, the team are obviously very passionate about their food and know what they are doing!! Also at £15 – great value too!
Stuzzi are opening a permanent base in Harrogate soon and I can’t wait to go and get the full experience!!
Stuzzi residency is on till Friday, then if you haven’t gorged yourself on every bit you can get your mouth around, I’m sure that won’t be the case, they’ll be spoiling us Leeds folk at Belgrave’s Street Feast too.http://www.belgravemusichall.com 1A Cross Belgrave St Leeds West Yorkshire LS2 8JP 0113 234 6160 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stuzzi/356068864465742?ref=ts&fref=ts http://www.salumeria-stuzzi.com/home.html