I will get the obvious out of the way first – yes it is not centrally located so not the easiest to get to. Between Leyton and Epping is Snaresbrook which, until now, I had no reason to visit till Bombetta happened. I live at the opposite end of the city and it took me just under an hour to get there.
But boy, was it worth it! Luckily, the restaurant is literally outside the station which means you can calmly order your Birra Moretti before even exiting the turnstiles!
The interior design is an eclectic mix of industrial and rustic details – exposed pipework, busy, un-showy kitchen, bright neons, gleaming tiles and reclaimed furniture.
The cold and hard surfaces of metal, wood and concrete are warmed up by soft leather banquettes and colourful artwork on textured walls. The whole space has a slightly purposefully raw and unfinished look about it.
A special mention about the trio of sparkly chandeliers – they were quite eye-catchy. The chandeliers are handmade in Milan and decorated with natural semi-precious stones by a company called Sussiebiribissi. You can find their details here.
Whilst the chandeliers were a feast for the eyes, the real feast was waiting to unfold.
Kris saw Stuffed Courgette Flower (£8) on the menu and he looked no further! This is his all time favourite dish and he was ecstatic to spot this on the menu. They arrived beautifully stuffed with Sicilian fig cheese, lightly coated in beer batter and drizzled over with honey. The result was a light, golden-fried, batter-encrusted number (almost tempura-like) oozing with the crumbly cheese and a sweet aftertaste from the honey. For someone who doesn’t like courgette flowers (talk about opposites attract), even I relished it!
The next starter to arrive was the Cavatelli Pasta from Puglia (£7) – a light lemony dish with perfect al-dente pasta, mussels and borlotti beans on a delicate puddle of white wine and fish stock . The beans brought an earthy touch to this summery seafood dish.
I had my eyes on the meaty dishes from the small plates section. We tried their Fillet of beef (£7.5), which is prepared by (wait for it) rolling it in herbs, then the beef is dry-aged, lightly smoked and hung for a minimum of 75 days in the Italian Alps. The beef comes thinly sliced, flecked with Gran Riserva Pecorino from Tuscany. The result – beautifully cured and carved meat, luxurious with salty bites of the cheese. Talk about a well-travelled plate of food!
I sneakily slipped in a fourth starter, even though we were getting our mains soon. Everything so far had been so good that I couldn’t resist the Burratina with figs, Manuka Honey and Raspberry balsamic vinegar (£8.5), strewn with micro herbs. When it arrived, it was everything I expected and more! Smooth, silken, indecently creamy burrata combined with the sweet and nutty figs and the drizzle of that strong honey. A simply divine combination!
Finally, it was time for the star attraction – the Bombette. Bombetta or Bombette (plural) is a Puglian delicacy – little parcels of meat stuffed with cheese and herbs, rolled inside cured meat and then impaled onto skewers and chargrilled. Having never tried this before, this was our first choice from the mains. However the rest of the menu looked equally compelling. There were some stuff in their that really called out to me like the Fennel sausages and the whole Seabass. Perhaps next time:)
I went for the Pork, Spicy Panchetta, Scamorza Cheese, ‘nduja and Basil Bombetta (£13). It was spicy but unputdownable, with peppery notes from the basil adding further kick.
Kris opted for the Pork, Prosciutto, Truffle Pecorino and a Truffle and Porcini Paste Bombetta (£16). It was a spectrum of flavours and textures – meaty, salty, dense; subtly grounded by the porchini.
The Bombette came with grilled bread and salad, so a complete meal in itself. I can totally understand why Time Out voted this one of the best London restaurants. These succulent morsels of meat and cheese could easily build a cult following. It was kind of like an Italian twist on ‘pigs-in-blankets,’ only much much more sophisticated. The only minor complaint would be that it felt a bit soporifically rich and heavy.
Suitably impressed so far, we didn’t want to give dessert a miss even though we had no room left in us. We prudently decided to share a Chocolate and Hazelnut Torte, with chocolate sauce and a strawberry, raspberry, blueberry mix sorbet. As far as desserts go, this absolutely agreed with me, with all my favourite ingredients.
The dense, decadent torte; the glistening sauce and the icy, refreshing sorbet all danced happily together on the plate till we devoured it all!
At the end of a hugely satisfying meal, we were feeling like human versions of the bombette ourselves!
Throughout the evening, the service was extremely friendly, well-paced and accommodating. We had such a good evening that we decided to extend our stay for a round of Prosecco and they managed to squeeze us in at a last minute table at the bar, in spite of the restaurant being full.
The food in Bombetta has been a memorable explosion of ingredients, flavours and textures. It is clearly a popular local! Yes, it is far for the rest of us non-Wanstead people, but the traipse on the Central line is every bit worth its while when you are rewarded with such delicious food!
More information can be found here.
N.B. All photos and opinions are mine and my partner’s. I review anonymously and pay for my meals. The total cost of the meal was discounted as it was part of a one-off restaurant promotion. This is not a sponsored post.