Mediterranean sunshine in Hackney: Sood Family pop-up
PUBLISHED: 15:36 17 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:34 17 August 2017
Is the British summer getting you down? Head east for some Mediterranean culinary relief.
Is the British summer letting you down? Head east for some Mediterranean culinary relief courtesy of Carlo and Michele and their recently established pop-up on Well Street, E9. Both are from Puglia, the sunshine-soaked heel of Italy, and set up shop in Hackney last September. They’re now doing a residency at Well Street Kitchen.
Michele, the chef, has worked at several restaurants from Rome to London, spending two years at the Chiltern Firehouse under star chef Nuno Mendes; he is now in charge of keeping the Well Street Market crowds satisfied with panzerotti (deep fried stuffed calzone), spaghetti Amatriciana and octopus pasta.
Carlo and Michele are great admirers of tradition, both Italian and British, and they’re proud to be continuing the lineage of local Well Street food businesses: before becoming the Sood Family prep kitchen, the space was first a stable, then storage for the market’s fruit and veg stalls. “As local business owners and Hackney residents, we are really proud to have the opportunity to take part in the development of Well Street and its nightlife,” said Carlo.
With such a strong community feel, Well Street is the perfect spot for the freshness-obsessed cooks who feel like they “want to give something back to the community and offer an interesting dining experience to customers.”
They do so by concocting dishes which are surprising twists on Italian staples: basil and tomatoes are unsurprisingly ubiquitous, for instance, but the former is blended into oil and the latter filtered until it becomes transparent. “It’s clear customers would never expect such a flavour from a clear liquid - every bite is a surprise.”
The other dishes from the ever-changing menu are similarly innovative, and all come with side stories: “We always try to explain where our ideas come from – they’re usually a mix between Italian traditional cuisine, our grandmothers’ recipes, and our imagination.”
“We’ve gotten lots of compliments recently, but really all we do is buy good products, cook them with love, and make sure people have a good time.” And with a great value aperitivo deal – two drinks and snacks for £10, 6.30pm to 8pm Thu - Sat – it’s safe to assume that there are good times ahead indeed.