Ostuni, restaurant review: ‘convivial vibe and delicious dishes’

Ostuni serves Puglian dishes

Ostuni serves Puglian dishes - Credit: Archant

Your average Italian peddles the top 10 dishes favourable to the English palate, but the country’s regional cuisine is hugely varied and geographically distinctive.

Your average Italian peddles the top 10 dishes favourable to the English palate, but the country’s regional cuisine is hugely varied and geographically distinctive.

Puglia is a coastal region revelling both in locally reared meat and the likes of seabream and squid fished from the Med.

Named after a pretty Pugilese hill town, Ostuni, a recent opening at 1, Hampstead Lane (ostunirestaurant.co.uk) makes good use of both.

With a rustic chic decor to match the food – delicious peasant dishes at more than you’d pay in Italy - pale walls with cast iron, limestone and ceramic features, it’s the second opening for a successful Queen’s Park outfit with a convivial vibe of informal dining.


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There’s the familiar sight of chefs perspiring by a wood-fired oven in an open kitchen, but don’t expect pizza.

This heat is used to roast and grill meats often seasoned with a spike of chilli.

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Both our mixed starters and the children’s orchiete featured signature polpette atop a fresh tomato sauce these large meaty yet soft and yielding balls were very good.

We also liked the citrus spritzed tuna tartare housing a creamy burrata centre, a dish to return for.

Cured meats came with a sweet red onion chutney, and deepfried saltcod balls with caper and sweet onion - a good pairing.

Don’t be put off by the undistinguished house red it’s worth delving deeper into their list of Puglian wines.

Somehow we managed a spicy roast baby chicken diavola accompanied by a crunchy, mustardy rocket, fennel and radish salad.

It also came with my ‘bombette’ of pork sliced seasoned and wrapped with mushrooms, lamb neck fillet and Saporita, nicely offsetting the well seasoned grilled meat.

A chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream was perfectly done and cherry pie was good but unspectacular, but the kids loved their lemon sorbets.

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