LITTLE SARDEGNA: HAPPY IN HIGHBURY
It was after the man turned up with the unfeasibly large pepper grinder that I suggested to HS, half in jest, that the next thing we’d see would be the accordion player. Sure enough, a jolly chap in a trilby turned up as we were eating our main course and proceeded to annoy the hell out of all the diners with his repertoire of operatic hits, transcribed for the squeeze box. I’m just glad he didn’t decide to serenade us. Little Sardegna is that sort of place, though. A typical neighbourhood joint as HS so astutely noted, and a decent one at that.
We’d walked past Little Sardegna when we’d visited Yildiz a few weeks ago and the author of the blog An Australian Eats In London  had posted a comment recommending it to us. HS fancied Italian so after a detour via Upper Street for good drinks at new cocktail bar 69 Colebrooke Row and a less good pint at some anonymous pub we pitched up at the restaurant which is situated on the slightly less lugubrious section of the Blackstock Road (but these things are relative, you understand).
A bit of a tight fit for two hefty Hermanos, Little Sardegna is nonetheless a cosy little place with candles on the table and Dino on the soundsystem. The menu is pretty standard stuff and not notably Sardinian although there was a range of Sardinian Pastas which I’d never encountered before.
A starter of Fegatini Pollo for HS looked as if it had had a few close encounters with the ugly stick but the taste belied its rustic appearance. Chicken Livers, cooked until soft and melting in a good red wine sauce and served over crisp Carta Di Musica delivered the requisite offal/meaty hit. Surprisingly light the dish had HS greedily mopping up the juices in a rather off-putting way.
An Antipasto plate of Cured Meats made the recent example at Villandry look very silly indeed. The slices of good quality Salami, Cotto and other cured meats were mercifully served at room temperature – the only way to truly appreciate cured meats. There was some soft and mild ricotta-like cheese drizzled with honey and strips of a harder variety akin to Manchego Again not the prettiest plateful but generous and tasty.
I really liked HS’s Lorighittas, a handmade semolina based pasta shaped liked little plaits. They’d been cooked and combined with some small sweet clams and cherry tomatoes and the whole covered with shavings of Bottarga. An elegant and delicious combo which I enjoyed finishing whilst HS had a go at my Malluredos.
Malluredos are a type of gnocchetti that look like little maggots. They came in a rich tomato sauce, dotted with nuggets of very porky sausage meat. Perfect with our wine: a Cannonau and just the thing to keep a typical British Summer at bay. It was a big portion and I found it a little hard going after a while but the human hoover sitting opposite me didn’t have a problem.
Disappointingly, from a small dessert selection they were out of Gelati so I wolfed down a good Tiramisu (which really did) and most of HS’s cheese-filled pastry (which didn’t).
As regular readers of the blog will know I’m a bit of a fan of obscure foreign liqueurs (the rougher the better, although I’m not averse to the occasional artisanal variety either). The standard free drink at Little Sardegna is Limoncello but I had my eyes on Mirto, a drink made from Myrtle Berries. Wisely, HS gave me his. As a digestif it worked perfectly, unfortunately the side effect was that my head felt as if it had been filled with wire wool. I like very much.
A total bill of £68 excluding service seemed a bit high but is now pretty much standard for a three course meal in London and given we’d had an a jolly evening (accordion player aside) and enjoyed good service it is but a minor quibble.
The Dos Hermanos Rule of Thumb for Italian restaurants is usually along the lines of “the quality of the cooking is in inverse proportion to the size of the pepper grinder”. In the case of Little Sardegna, happily, that rule doesn’t apply.