Truffle is seemingly everywhere; my local Budgens sells truffle crisps (at £4 a bag)! Some restaurants would infuse the napkins with the stuff if it meant they could increase the prices. But the chances are you’re not actually eating real truffle. Shock horror: truffle oil, generally what they’ve liberally soaked your French fries in, does not need to contain a single flake of actual truffle!
Most truffle oils don’t contain any real truffle but instead contain compounds that recreate the flavour or smell of the real thing. Would you like some 2,4-dithiapentane oil on your risotto isn’t quite as appealing.
But in celebration of truffle season we decided to snuffle out the real deal. The places where the truffle is as authentic as the service and where the food has been created by some of London’s best chefs. Here they are…
Italian cuisine and the good life come together perfectly in the form of Harry’s Bar. The James Street restaurant evokes Venetian grandeur, European sophistication and, crucially, exquisite truffle dishes.
A mouth watering truffle-scattered pizza or risotto...
The white truffle menu, specially created for truffle season, brings together the restaurant’s best truffle dishes. Start with a tagliatelle, a creamy burata or Carpaccio di Manzo, slices of raw beef accompanied with Cipriani dressing, before moving on to a mouth watering truffle-scattered pizza or risotto.
Where: 36 James Street, Marylebone, W1U 1ES
Bocca di Lupo
There’s a slightly different vibe over at Soho’s Bocca di Lupo, where the restaurant operates a BYOT policy. that is, bring your own truffle.
My kitchen cupboards are usually a repository for seven-years-past-its-sell-by jars of garamasala powder, but if you’ve got something more to the tune of £2,000 per kilo truffle stashed away, then why not wrap it in a bit of newsprint and have the guys at Bocca di Lupo ‘generously’ shave it for you?
The menu helpfully suggests which dishes are truffle-friendly (marked with a T) and supplì ‘cacio e pepe’, bagna caoda and roast partridge are all marked out as improvable.
Handily, you can purchase truffle from the restaurant’s on-site Gelateria, Gelupo.
Where: 12 Archer Street, Soho, W1D 7BB
If anyone knows about truffle it’s Kitchen W8 Head Chef, Mark Kempson. So much so that he’s created a four-course truffle tasting menu!
And you’ll not only be tasting truffle, but tasting truffles plural. The fragrant menu features variously Wiltshire truffle (autumn truffle), Périgord truffle (black winter truffle), white Alba truffle and honey truffle (which works in ice cream!).
All, of course, perfectly paired with truffle(s)...
Available in November, the menu is likely to include dishes like last year’s highly successful BBQ beef short rib croquettes, crispy pickled shallots, Wiltshire autumn truffle and walnut ketchup; sticky toffee pudding, spiced pear and honey truffle ice cream. All, of course, perfectly paired with truffle(s).
Where: 11-13 Abingdon Road, Kensington, W8 6AH
The Italian market hall at Liverpool Street is London’s go-to for truffle shopping (think of all the nearby bankers!). But you can also have it cooked for you the proper Italian way thanks to the restaurants at the venue.
Like Pasta e Pizza (no prizes for guessing what’s on the menu). Enjoy pasta dishes like Tajarin al Tartufo, homemade tagliolini with butter, Parmigiano Reggiano DOP fresh black truffle, or else indulge in Ravioli Ricotta fungi e tartufo, ricotta ravioli with girolles, truffle, Parmigiano Reggiano DOP and black pepper.
Fancy a pizza? They’ve got your truffle-seeking back with the Fungi e Tartufo pizza, staring Fiordilatte mozzarella, sautèed mushrooms, seasonal truffle and Parmigiano Reggiano DOP.
Where: 135 Bishopsgate, The City, EC2M 3YD UK
What Angela Hartnett doesn’t know about truffle, probably isn’t worth snuffling out. The Italian Michelin star-er channels her upbringing, cooking with her Italian grandmother and aunts, to create modern Italian dishes, and she really knows her white truffle.
Hands-down one of our favourite London chefs (and a protege of Gordon Ramsay), Hartnett is currently truffling up carnaroli risotto, girolles and summer truffle, but as the season rolls on expect more truffley goodness to come onto the menu.
She really knows her white truffle...
Last year’s gnocchi, girolles, parmesan and autumn truffle was knock-out good.
Where: 20 Queen Street, Mayfair, W1J 5PP
Look, I ain’t no Colombo but I’m guessing the clue’s potentially in the name… Seven Dials burger experts Truffle celebrate all things truffle-infused, giving London some of the best truffle and parmesan fries about and ladling the stuff into their iconic burgers.
Tom Bickers has the solution to any truffle-based problem...
The food hall, in the heart of Seven Dials, is full of tasty eateries and is the ideal place to escape in search of affordable truffley goodness and chef Tom Bickers has the solution to any truffle-based problem.
Where: Seven Dials Market, 35 Earlham Street, West End, WC2H 9LD
Bob Bob Ricard
Russian dining, with its oligarch-pleasing tastes is a Soho favourite of anyone who needs a ‘Press for Champagne button’ in their lives. Bob Bob Ricard not only boasts various caviar options (of course it does), not to mention the obligatory vodka shots served at -18°C, but also does a pretty mean truffle mash.
Meanwhile the Truffle Waffle, made with black truffle and served with fresh truffle-infused organic maple syrup is seriously tasty.
Where: 1 Upper James Street, Soho, W1F 9DF
The Game Bird, the centre-piece of The Stafford, is a Handbook favourite and the menu includes a truffley delight.
Slice open the Chicken Kiev and out oozes 120g of truffle butter. If you’re worried about slimy clothes then fear-not, the restaurant will also include a leather bib into the bargain, to guard against spillages (also ideal if you fancy some on-the-side blacksmithing while you’re there).
The Chicken Kiev is served with creamy pomme puree, topped with truffle shavings, just in case you couldn’t get enough of the stuff.
Where: 16-18, St James’s Place, St. James’s, SW1A 1NJ
As the autumn closes in Tavolino are bringing in black truffle from Umbria with the option for guests to add the delicacy to all the restaurant’s dishes.
Dishes with a high fat content are normally the best suited to the fungus...
While truffle may not be the perfect accompaniment to, say, a strawberry sorbet (though who are we to dictate?) dishes with a high fat content are normally the best suited to the fungus.
Step forward their silk handkerchiefs or, as of 19th October, a new dish: corn-fed chicken breast, king oyster mushroom, polenta & black garlic sauce.
Where: 2 More London Riverside, Borough, SE1 2DB
Where: 19 Berkeley Street, Mayfair, W1J 8ED