Trulli Lovely | Pulia, 36a & 36b Stoney Street, London SE1 9LB
We absolutely adore the region of Puglia in the relatively untouched heel of Italy. Home to whitewashed towns with trulli – unique stone huts with conical roofs. We fell in love with it so much that we chose to get married there, with its amazing fresh and great value food and the beautiful scenery, we just had to. If you haven’t been, make 2016 the year you change that.
So, Pulia is a Puglian cafe and deli opened just around the corner from Borough Market a whole year ago and we’ve only just got there to try it out. I know, this doesn’t make sense considering our affection for Puglia, it’s not very often that a southern Italian restaurant crops up in London. We’d poked our noses through the door to have a peek but as always, we were passing through to get somewhere else. The story of our lives.
It’s so lovely inside. Gleaming white walls simple decor, but they’ve certainly gone to town with the table tops – a scattering of dehydrated slices of orange, broad beans or orichiette lays underneath the glass tops, pretty and so very Instagramable.
The only thing we weren’t too sure about in Pulia, were the toilets… A great looking bathroom (there’s only one cubicle) has been totally spoilt by the lack of a toilet seat. I don’t recall the lack of toilet seats in Puglia, Thailand, definatley, but not in Italy. Everyone who emerged from there looked just as puzzled by it as we were. lets give them the benefit of the doubt and assume the seat had only recently broken.
Our waitress and manager made life easier for us when it came to ordering from the menu, we told her what we liked (and that I can’t eat cheese – I’ve never seen a waitress look so sad at the news). Her spark came back when Ade reassured her that he can.
So, we ordered quite a substantial amount of food, but it was OK as it was the kind of food more than suitable for taking the leftovers home (it is a deli also). We dived into the Mixed Charcuterie (£12.50) – a delicious selection of amazing quality Puglian ham and cheese including Nodini (mozzarella shaped like a knot). The little dish of smokey molten Scamorza cheese was perfect thickly spread on the fresh crispy bread. The Mixed baked products board (£10) was an assortment of, yep you guessed it, baked products. From breaded gooey mozzarella to my favourite – Focaccia barese with burnt wheat.
Meanwhile, Ade tucked into the Burrata special (£12.50) with orange, mint and a sweet fig reduction. A huge white knot of freshly made fluffy cheese, the kind of cheese I long to be able to eat. The week after we visited, Pulia flew over Domenico – their cheesemaker, we’re gutted to have missed his live cheese making sessions.
Ade looked at me with deepest sympathy as he devoured half of it, saving the rest to take home. The syrupy fig reduction complimented my share of the ham so I was more than happy. The wonderul Burrata that was served up at Emma Spitzer‘s home with EatAbout was sourced from here, yet another reason for us to visit.
One of my favouite things to eat in Puglia was Orecchiette pasta – named so from the Italian words ‘orecchia’, meaning ‘ear’, and ‘etta’, meaning ‘small’. I just love the texture and I’d eat it with the most simplest of sauces – tomato and basil. When you have the quality of tomatoes that Puglia boasts, you don’t need much else. The Pasta and meatballs (£12.25) was a more hearty version of this dish – dense, rich meatballs transported it to a more wholesome and wintery meal. Absolutely perfect with a glass of Lauto Primitivo (£34.90 a bottle.)
Ade was a tad disappointed with his Chicory and fave (£7) – a traditional broad bean
mash, served with crostini. It wasn’t quite what he imagined it to be and there was no crostini but taralli in its place. Taralli is little bread stick loops that we couldn’t get enough of in Puglia. Yes, they’re fantastic but not ideal for scooping the broad bean mash on to.
For dessert we were stumped with even more choice. We decided to go as traditional as possible with Pasticciotto (small £2.70, large £3.90, trio of small £7.50) – from the region of Salento. Little shortbread cakes filled with custard and cherry or chocolate and hazelnut. A slight crust on the outside, inside is warm and soft, they’re served with your choice of olive oil (we had mandarin), a fantastic combination of both flavour and texture.
This felt like a proper date night, we took down no notes, just chatted and caught up with each others days, plus reminiscing about our wedding and Puglian memories, with just an occasional glance at the charming video Pulia created that plays on a loop on a screen. We headed home with full bellies, full hearts and armed with plenty of leftovers for lunch the following day. You’d never know this understated little place would also have branches in Milan and soon, New York! Make sure you go before everyone else finds out about it.
36a & 36b Stoney Street, London SE1 9LB
Telephone: +44 (0) 207 407 8766
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 8am – 9pm, Sunday: 10am – 9pm
We ate as guests of Pulia, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.