A restaurant with a menu is centred entirely on Italian grain polenta is to open in London’s Soho this month.
La Polenteria is the brainchild of entrepreneur Cristina Sparcaci, and will serve dishes inspired by polenta as a key ingredient, across starters, mains and desserts.
The 20-cover, casual-dining restaurant will also operate a takeaway service, and will be open from morning until evening, starting with breakfast items such as polenta muffins or creamy polenta with blueberry and maple syrup. Lunch and dinner choices include polenta with Sicilian caponata or wild boar, goulash and Tuscan sausages with borlotti beans.
There will also be a selection of panini and salads, plus gluten-free ale.
Average spend per head in the restaurant is anticipated to be around the £15-£20 mark.
Naturally gluten-free itself, the cornmeal grain polenta is often used as a substitute for bread, pasta, rice or potatoes, and easily takes on the flavour of whatever else it is cooked or served with.
Sparcaci hopes that diners will warm to the polenta idea, and also wants to tap into the burgeoning UK gluten-free market, which last year grew by more than 15% to £238m annually, according to the Food Standards Agency.
She said: “La Polenteria aims to be a modern and different venue renown for rejuvenating polenta, a dish made popular by northern Italian cuisine, by giving it a cosmopolitan and modern feel. We are promoting and recreating polenta as an exciting, healthy, tasty, high quality dish loved by all.
“During market research we did appreciate that this soft style of polenta is not a taste the London public is overly familiar with… but we believe we can challenge peoples’ tastes. We know there is a market out there ready to welcome a new addition to the many tastes that make up the London dining scene, and we have prepared ourselves for the challenge.”