Posts Tagged ‘bruscetta’

When Enjoying Good Food, Start As You Mean to Go On

It is perhaps a tad bizarre that no matter which culture we look to, almost anywhere in the world, the “starter” forms an integral part of the dining experience.

Of course when we eat at home, often with our plate on our laps and the television commanding our attention, we will content ourselves with a sole course of whatever it is we have cooked up. But in a restaurant, when we are enjoying a meal with family or with friends, the starter portion is somewhat obligatory.

In our cosmopolitan age the starter is known by many names. The hors d’oeuvre is the French version, although it can differ in the sense that it frequently includes the pre-meal nibble, such as the canapé, which can be taken standing up, alongside a drink and in conversation, or even instead of a main course of food.

In some other Western societies the starter is referred to as an entrée, although confusingly in some parts of North America the same term is in some cases used to describe the main meal. Where this is the case the starter is often called an “appetizer” in order to differentiate it from the main course entrée.

The Italian antipasto on the other hand has a much more precise and formal application. Usually comprising cured meats, cheeses and olives, antipasti (the plural of antipasto) represent the official beginning of the meal and are invariably served when one is seated at the table.

At Eco, one of the most respected Clapham North restaurants, a long and varied, not to mention impressive, list of antipasti have pride of place on the menu. Seafood, bruscetta, duck vermicelli and tortellini to name just a small few. Invariably they give us a tantalising hint of the high-quality cuisine that we can expect when the main course arrives.

As in all good restaurants in Clapham the diner can expect that every bit as much attention will be paid to the quality and presentation of the antipasti as will be to the scrumptious main course that every customer comes along to enjoy.

A good meal out should be a civilised, unhurried experience. With good wine and good company it can be an occasion to remember, in an atmosphere to savour.