Posts Tagged ‘Italian restaurants in Clapham’

Pasta Sauce, Please!

Pasta SauceEco Restaurant in Clapham Common is rightfully known for its succulent, nutritious and healthy pizzas.

And yet for those who like a bit of variety, or to whom pizza doesn’t appeal, we are highly regarded for our range of other dishes, not least our extensive selection of pastas.

To some gnocchi, zucchini, pappardelle, maccheroncini, tortellini, vermicelli, bigoli, fusilli and casoncelli may read like the first few names from a Euro 2012 soccer team sheet, but to those in the know they are some of many exciting varieties of pasta or pasta dish that are widely enjoyed around the world today.

Most pastas are made from durum wheat, although some varieties can be made from wheat flour or buckwheat flour. Other ingredients include water and sometimes eggs. In its native Italy pasta is usually enjoyed al dente, meaning “firm to the bite”, in other words not excessively soft. Pasta made without eggs (dry pasta) has the advantage of enjoying a shelf life of two years or even more.

Generally speaking pasta comes in three forms – long pasta (such as spaghetti), short pasta (in shapes such as penne or rigatoni), or minute (also called pastina, used mostly in soups). It is sometimes available in wholemeal, and sometimes in different colours when pigmented by tomato, for example, or spinach.

As well as the excitement value that comes with variety, there is sometimes a logic to the different shapes and sizes. The ability of a pasta form to hold a particular sauce, for example, is often dependent upon its shape. A classic example is ravioli, which is sealed to encase minced meat, cheese or other fillings.

At Eco, recognised as one of the finest Italian restaurants in Clapham, we serve a wide range of pastas topped with the finest meats, fish, seafood and vegetables and tossed and served in some of the most creative and mouth-watering sauces that it is possible to imagine.

Come along and try it for yourself.

Pizza vs. Pasta – Which Cooks Your Sauce?

Pasta It is the eternal conundrum – you love Mediterranean cuisine but you can’t decide which sates your palette the best – pizza or pasta.

Trawl the Internet and you will find websites, blogs, community forums and chatrooms dedicated to the cause of resolving this thorny issue, with conflicting opinions aplenty. Meat and vegetables on a doughy base or pieces of wheat cut into shapes and smothered with succulent sauces?

In the case of pasta it is very cheap – supermarkets almost give the stuff away in economy sized packets, and it costs little more even if it is wholewheat or in multiple colours. Boil it in water for a few minutes with a pinch of salt to stop it sticking to the saucepan (unless you use non-stick) and then simply pour on the sauce of your own choice or else top it with something soft, mushy and spicy.

This, of course, is the point often missed during this most essential debate. A pizza, by definition, is what sits upon the base. Is it a Margherita or a Napoletana? A Marinara or a Fiorentina? A pizza is, of course, defined entirely by its ingredients.

Pasta on the other hand is in itself rather bland. It is what one pours over pasta that lends it its character. With a Bolognese it is tomato and mince, on other occasions it can be creamy bacon, mushrooms in sauce or almost anything else one can think of. But the pasta itself is just that.

Wheat, of course, is not a product that is exclusive to Italy or to the Mediterranean. Indeed a friend from the North East swears that it originated in “Durum”.

Nonetheless the huge array of sauces – tomato-based, creamy, chilli and so many others – lend pasta an unmistakable Italian “feel”.

Interestingly, despite being more difficult to make and more expensive to source pizza invariably comes out on top whenever a poll is conducted. Where Italian food is concerned pizza continues to be the standard bearer.

But at Eco Restaurant, one of the more popular Italian restaurants in Clapham, they play it safe. An impressive and diverse array of pizza options is supplemented by an extensive range of pasta choices, from ravioli dishes to spaghetti, with sauces from wild mushroom, through seafood to spicy chicken and zucchini.

There is one other advantage that pizza has over pasta that we omitted to mention. It can be eaten on the move, or whilst standing up. At Eco, with our generous seating plan and well-organised booking system, that is unlikely ever to be an issue.

Picture This, a Fine Pizza Restaurant in Clapham Common

One sometimes wonders how it is that any cinemas remain open today.

In the early days of film a trip to the pictures was about more than just entertainment. Often the flickering, black and white newsreels invariably accompanied by solemn commentary in an absurd male and middle-aged BBC accent were the only means the people had through which to keep up with what was going on in the world about them.

Even as late as the 1970s Saturday Morning Pictures for the children was a reasonable enough alternative to a television service that boasted the princely total of three channels.

But in the 21st century, with multi-channel satellite and cable television and film technology that is even accessible through PCs and mobile telephones, why does anybody pay money to go to the cinema?

The answer must lie in the unique experience that is the big screen, the popcorn and ice cream and the big surround sound.

Certainly in Clapham the Picture House is thriving and is considered something of a local legend, a totem for the local and sometimes not so local community. Needless to say some concessions to modernity have been made, like everywhere else today cinema-goers that choose not to partake of tobacco no longer have to share the recycled air of those who do. But for those for whom a miniature tub of ice cream is not the refreshment of choice there is the option of taking in a glass of beer or wine from the bar. No need for the unseemly clamour during the interval that one experiences at many theatres.

Of course nothing quite goes down with a glass of wine like a full and bountiful meal, and as such a thing is as yet to be provided at the bar of the cinema or along the isles by the usherette one must wait until the film is over before rounding off the occasion by supplementing the fine wine with some fine cuisine.

Of all the restaurants close to Clapham Picture House one of the best known is the Eco Restaurant, one of the very finest Italian restaurants in Clapham. Here one can enjoy fine pizzas, pastas or any of a good variety of other options.

Indeed there is no finer place to sit back, relax and talk about the film.

Some Interesting Facts about Italy and the Italians

Italy is famous throughout the world for its history, its art, its culture, its music and its contribution to world cuisine. But what else do we know about it?

Here are a few lesser known facts about this fascinating nation:

  1. The average Italian family has 1.27 children.
  2. The Italian flag is inspired by the French tricolore introduced by Napoleon’s invasion in 1797.
  3. Two independent nations reside wholly within Italy’s borders – San Marino and the Vatican City.
  4. The modern Italian language has its origins in a region of Tuscany.
  5. The Italian contribution to science includes the electric battery, the barometer, nitro-glycerine and wireless telegraphy.
  6. The name of the electronic unit of measurement “volt” derives from Alessandro Volta, who invented the first battery in 1779.
  7. The Italians invented the piano.
  8. The average Italian consumes 26 gallons of wine per year and half a pound of bread each day.
  9. Italy is the fourth most visited country in the world, with over 40 million visitors each year.
  10. Twelve of William Shakespeare’s plays were based, in whole or in part, in Italy. They are Romeo and Juliet, Othello, The Merchant of Venice, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, Cymbeline, Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew, Titus Andronicus, Antony and Cleopatra, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Winter’s Tale and Julius Caesar.
  11. Despite its German-sounding name, Cologne originated in Italy.
  12. The age of the average Italian is 41.
  13. Italy has the highest number of cultural sites recognized by UNESCO World Heritage.
  14. Italy has three active volcanoes – Vesuvius, Etna, and Stromboli.
  15. Family recreational activities in small villages include taking the traditional Sunday passeggiata (a family stroll).
  16. The three colours of the Italian flag represent the three virtues – hope (green), faith (white), and charity (red).
  17. Before Rome became a republic and an empire, it had seven kings.
  18. “Ars longa, vita brevis” is a common saying in Italy. Literally translated it means “art is long, life is short”.
  19. Whilst the official language is Italian, French and German are also spoken in some regions.
  20. Of all the Italian restaurants in Clapham, Eco Restaurant is demonstrably the most committed to providing healthy and nutritious options on its menu and eco-friendly solutions to waste disposal.

Captivating though all these facts are, you will only need to remember one of them when planning your next meal out in London.