Veneta, St. James’s Market

Since I moved back from Italy, there’s been a rather noticeable, food-related hole in my day-to-day. I miss the fresh fish, I miss aperitivo (and apericena), I miss the simplicity of Italian home-cooked food.

Veneta wasn’t all of those things, but it certainly helped to fill a gap.

I would always choose to have a taste of everything rather than one, very full plate to myself. And I think more and more people are beginning to have their heads turned by eating in this way, with sharing plates, and a tapas-style of dining, regardless of cuisine.

On paper, it might not appeal to all. A character that is distinctly of the Salt Yard Group, Veneta offers a mix of charcuterie, small plates, a wine list fully stocked with Spanish and Italian wines, and a conviviality that blends both nations. A similar concept to previous Salt Yard restaurants, but not without some of its own unique flourishes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When we dined at Veneta, it has only been open 5 weeks. The name is a nod to the strong influences of Venetian cuisine, with fish and seafood being the main attractions on the menu. This, however, transplants off of the page and onto the fish scale tiles that line the bar, the marine blue sofas, and the shimmered glass that stands on the back of the leather benches, an almost-powdered texture that seems to roll over itself – I can’t quite decide if it resembles tumbling sand or rolling waves.

The mezzanine floor made me strangely feel as though I was below deck in an old ship. I’m not sure if it is intended in the design but the low, timber ceiling over the bar and the glass tulip lampshades hanging down.. it wasn’t claustrophobic, it was like the very classy, very distinguished (but cramped) quarters of a ship. All the way down (or up?) to the driftwood hanging from the ceiling beams.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Does the thick brass beam remind you of a handrail? Something we’d be sure to find an board the old Titanic, remnant of a grand stairwell graced by the feet of the ladies and the sweeping petticoats under their evening dresses. Maybe I’m romanticising a little…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In a place that makes you feel so wholly underwater, inspired by the most famous city on the sea, we hastened to order from the raw menu. Our choices included the Red Tuna, Cumin and Apple Vinegar (£7.50) – so good we had it twice – and Gambero Rosso with Lemon and Rosemary (£12).

We also went for the scallops which, though delicious, disappeared rather quickly as there were only two of them – not so ideal for a sharing plate. I’m not too big on mackerel, but the Cornish Mackerel cooked in Laurel with Grapes, Samphire and Riesling Vinegar (£8.50) went down quite well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Italian isn’t Italian without pasta, so naturally we went for a broad selection.

The Kid Goat Ragu with Fresh Pappardelle (£8) was my choice. I love wide-ribboned pasta – it was one of the first dishes I ate with my au pair mum when I moved out to live with the family, and it always reminds me of those early days by Lake Maggiore in June.

Back in the day, before dairy-free life, burrata was no joke. I made sure my family tried the Burrata and Sheep’s Ricotta Ravioli, with Porcini Sauce, Mushrooms and Hazelnuts (£8) – and the porcini sauce alone was more than satisfying.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Our two meat options struck two very different chords for us. The Charcoal-grilled Farmison’s Pork Rib-eye, with Occhiato Bean Puree, Grilled Courgettes and Fig Cremosa (£9.50) was like putting Italy on your fork – especially with the fig flavour.

The Spiced Lamb Gigot with Swiss Chard, Tomato, Lamb Fat Potatoes and Caprini Fresco (£10) rung all of the Middle Eastern bells, the lamb was so aromatic – reminiscent of my grandmother’s Persian cooking.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When I was first planning a trip to Venice, I read a tea-stained old book at a second hand bookstall in Verona. The food pages spoke about the use of spices in Venetian cuisine, and how they’d made their way into the old recipes due to traders and sailors from far-off places passing through the ports of Venezia. If you’ve been to Venice, and ambled down the narrow streets and bridges, it’s quite enchanting to think of the old merchants, making a living and picking up new ingredients along the way.

If you haven’t seen the city, but read The Merchant of Venice for GCSE English, you can probably imagine it too (without the pound of flesh maybe).

What memories does food bring back for you? 

Love, C.

4 thoughts on “Veneta, St. James’s Market

  1. This place looks like a great place to go for a nice dinner, I will definitely be adding it to my list! I like all the decor and the food looks so good and super authentic. That is one thing i definitely miss about Italy – the amazing food! Thanks for sharing! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was really god food, a little different to a regular Italian! So good to have some proper regional cuisine! Can’t wait to go back to Italy xx

      Like

  2. Really enjoyed reading this post even though I’m now terribly hungry 😊 I love Italian food, no surprise really since I grew up just across the border. This place is definitely going on my list of places to go, I could really use some pasta just about now.

    Maya | londondamsel.co.uk/lifestyle/makes-successful-blogger/

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s