One night in Queen’s Park and six bloggers bought together by a love of Italian cuisine and a rather odd hobby of taking photos of their food and writing about it…
Inspired by a craving for food from Puglia, Reena sent around a text message recruiting fellow bloggers for a banquet of cheese, pasta and all the other good things that come on a menu of Italian food. The suggestion was Ostnui Restaurant in Queen’s Park and not being quite sure where Queen’s Park was, I left early and arrived unsurprisingly the first one there giving me plenty of time to admire the eclectic decor. Rustic yet elegant; stone sourced from Locorotondo lines the walls as this is a place that’s all about keeping authentic to it’s Puglian roots. The restaurant is actually named after a hilltop town in the region itself, nicknamed White Town, owing to the typical whitewashed houses. Personally I’ve never been to Puglia but the southern region that forms Italy’s ‘heel’ is well and truly on my list after hearing so much about it.
There’s seating indoors and out on a pretty terrace, I chose the latter to make the most of dwindling summer heat and lingering daylight. Soon Reena, Emma, Kiran, Connie and Vicky arrived and we ordered a bottle of champagne just because really…With glasses of bubbles poured, we made the difficult decision of narrowing down the menu choices.
Hot or cold burrata? We went for both…cold being served with bruschetta and hot with a sauce of tomato, garlic and olives perfect for dipping.
Baked aubergine Salentina is a style I’d never tried before but honestly for me you just can’t go wrong with aubergine in a rich tomato sauce, cheese and pesto.
Tuna crudo and celery, lemon and pink peppercorn and a liberal dash of olive oil was a great light starter from the cold section.
At Ostuni only the traditional pasta of the region is served and it’s all about simple food, prepared well with plenty of flavour. Kiran loved her green olive leaf pasta with cardoncelli mushrooms, burrata and black truffle which was Reena’s choice too.
I honestly think there’s nothing better than a good old fashioned plate of spaghetti, and Connie’s was served with fresh tomatoes and spicy crab.
Vicky loved her calamarata with braised octopus ragu which was generous in portion size.
And Emma said her orecchiette with beef braciole, meatballs, tomato and ricotta were the best meatballs she’d ever tasted. Between us we tried every pasta on the menu.
I was looking for something lighter and the seafood of the region is on the menu too. A delicious crisp vermincelli crust and very fresh asparagus added interest to my simple baked seabass. If more of you are keen to try the fish, there’s the option to order a whole sea bass or sea bream to share. Meat lovers won’t be disappointed either as there’s plenty of choice many items cooked in the ‘fornello pronto’ or stone oven fired up with charcoal.
Of course we had to order a huge heaped pile of Zucchini fritti as a side dish to accompany our delicious choices. There was a little under-seasoning here and there but on the whole we were very pleased with all our dishes and despite slightly over ordering, there was very little left on the table.
What’s an Italian feast without desserts and my all time favourite Tiramisu is served in a cute cup that’s easy to dip a few spoons in at a time!
Overall we were really impressed with Ostuni, not only for the delicious food and authentic decor but for the warm and friendly service too.
43-45 Lonsdale Road
A 20% discount was kindly extended to us.