My hubby and I recently attended a menu tasting event at Scaddabush, a restaurant named after the Italian slang word for a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
My first memory of Italian food is about twenty years or so old. I don’t think I was even into my first set of double digits in age, but then my Dad had us eating avocados and shellfish before we really understood that it was Sebastian from The Little Mermaid we were enjoying so much.
It was on the Isle of Man, we had decided to take a coastal drive, my father, my younger sister and I. We drove along the Island’s roads adjacent to the Irish Sea, making our way to Laxey of all places. My Dad is a real foodie, he loves all cuisines, has a serious sweet tooth, which he has passed down to my sister and I, and is never one to turn down a food adventure or not seek it in this case.
As we went down that teeny tiny road towards the beach, we passed a little restaurant – windows lit up with warm orange light and though we were supposed to be having dinner at home, Dad just decided to stop.
I still remember the first time I tried garlic bread that was flat and round, pizza that looked at though it had been made on tandoori naan and fresh pasta. In movies, I’ve heard people talk about the first time they tried heroin, nothing has ever lived up to that first experience of Italian food at La Mona Lisa.
We haven’t been to La Mona Lisa for many years now but some food memories just stay with you and it still plays on my mind whenever I order food in an Italian restaurant. It’s not as if I haven’t had great Italian food since then but nothing close to how that experience felt, studying the menu, bewildered by all the new words, asking Dad about items on the menu and watching him trying to figure it out (there was no Google back then), before waving the server over. Then, waiting for the food to come out, unsure why everything was the way it was but determined to try it all the same and having Manx ice cream after the entire event.
A few months a go, I went on a date with the hubby to Scaddabush after which we signed up to their social club. I love this place because there is nothing better than a restaurant that makes in-house mozzarella and with that tomato jam? I’ll happily concede to my hips and wave goodbye to any thoughts of abs.
So about a week or so ago, I signed us up to one of their social events that took place a few days ago (thank goodness I follow the 70/30 rule, there were seven courses to try). Upstairs the vibe was super cozy and upbeat. Another reason, I love the Scaddabush interior is because it reminds me of The Elbow Room in Karachi (the only place in the world I have had lasagna to die for), rustic and inviting.
Honestly, I don’t remember the names of all the dishes, but I remember how good they were. The taste testing started with artichokes and calamari. Went onto freshly baked focaccia and warm olives, a mozzarella cheese bomb that oozed onto fiery peppers and tomatoes, followed by bite sized meatballs, pizza, and pasta and ended with a chocolate jar cake. Ahmed shamelessly ate two and went to the gym the next day.
Steve Silvestro, their executive chef, kind of paid homage to all my taste buds and challenged them with the delicious and the unexpected, sweet (honey drizzled onto a pizza with truffle oil) salty, sour (I didn’t know I could like olives so much) and spicy (the calamari had a kickass sauce on it). As course, after course came out, I felt closer and closer to home, that little restaurant close to the beach I love, and the little girl who fell in love with Italian food.