Wolf, Stoke Newington High Street: Chef Karla Knowles pays homage to authentic Italian fare
PUBLISHED: 11:31 14 January 2018 | UPDATED: 11:31 14 January 2018
Karla Knowles’ Italian roots have influenced the new winter menu at Wolf in Stoke Newington High Street, discovers Emma Bartholomew
Having tasted the tiramisu at Wolf, it’s mind-boggling to imagine Karla Knowles’ mum apparently stubbornly refuses to eat it whenever she visits.
Based on a recipe handed down through her family, she takes offence at the Marsala orange zest head chef Karla has added in. I personally found it delightful.
It’s no surprise that Karla has Italian parentage - the food served up at the stylish Stoke Newington High Street restaurant is as authentic as it gets. She took over the helm six months ago after a stint at the Michelin starred Petersham Nurseries, and has just put together a hearty, yet sophisticated winter menu.
We loved the baccala fritto (£10), which sees salted cod and sprout tops lightly fried in tempura batter. Apparently the trick is to use sparkling water for aeration and to fry twice to achieve the delicious crispiness.
Karla evidently knows her stuff and the gnocetti (£13), or fried gnocci, are also out of this world. In my experience gnocci are heavy little lumps, but these are again light, and the flavour alongside morels and chanterelles is subtle and earthy.
The barrochio feather blade braised British beef (£22) is so tender it falls off the fork and the salsa verde adds a lemony kick to the polenta. The meat retains its shape despite being soaked in red wine and cooked overnight.
Like all respectable Italian restaurants homemade pasta features on the menu, and comes in all shapes and sizes here. Bucatini is like a thick spaghetti, and is topped with with venison shin porcini ragu (£16). It’s al dente and another good winter warmer - the kind of food you’d like if you were stuck half way up a mountain in Treviso remarked my friend. Hackney really was that chilly the day we visited. Truffle potatoes (£4) were light, fluffy and rosemary tinged.
For dessert, caramelised pears served with honey, mascarpone and pistachio (£5.50) is definitely worth returning for - along with the rest of the menu. A sanctuary amid the bustle of the high street outside, Wolf celebrates authentic Italian food and it’s easy to while away the hours in here.