Head Chef Gabriele Taddeucci and Stefano Manfredi
Continuing to tell the Italian story through food and wine, Stefano Manfredi and the Balla family have welcomed back their Regional Dinner Series in 2015 with a feast inspired by the beautifully rustic food of Calabria in southern Italy.
Cuttlefish with Salsa Piccante
Starting off the journey was a dish both vibrant in colour and flavour. I loved that they used cuttlefish instead of squid in this starter, as I find that it has a much meatier and satisfying texture to squid. The flavours were pure and simple southern Italian with a rich tomato and eggplant salsa that had a very enjoyable hit of chilli.
Maccheroncini with Spicy Calabria Salame, Broccoli and Provola Cheese
Thick al dente tubes of maccheroncini were lightly coated in an uber picante sauce of nduja (a spicy, spreadable pork sausage from Italy), olive oil, broccoli and provola cheese. Quite a spicy dish but still very enjoyable. If you know anyone from Calabria, you’ll know how important chilli is to the culture. It’s in everything, which is why this dish was such a winner for me (being of Calabrian decent).
Calabrese Style Lamb Shoulder with Onion, Olives and Panchetta
A beautifully tender main, the meat was cooked sous vide keeping it ridiculously moist, while resting on a bed of soft sautéed onions, olives and crispy panchetta pieces. A tremendous dish full of robust flavours.
Chocolate and Hazelnut Truffle
Easily the favourite of the night, the dome is made up of a lusciously smooth hazelnut semifreddo that’s like velvet in the mouth. Cutting down with my spoon I was delighted to find a liquid chocolate centre that was full of concentrated rich flavour. Encircled by a ring of sweet candied berries, this was the perfect way to end a lovely meat.
Apart from the regional dinner series menu, Balla offers a lovely a la carte menu with gorgeously fresh seafood options.
Being of southern Italian decent I was blown away and really appreciated how authentic and traditional the food was to the region. This was a really sensational meal!
2 Hungry Guys dined as Guests of Balla thanks to The Mint Partners