Truffles Pizzeria: restaurant review

Upon entering Truffles Pizzeria, the air was pungent with the luxurious smell and quality of truffle oil – as one of my favourite cooking ingredients, this was a good indication of what was to come.

Opened as a pizzeria only a year ago, amongst the dainty throng of local independents on Magdalen Road, business seems to be prosperous. Even on a Wednesday evening, tables were occupied or reserved; popular with local families, companionless individuals perhaps in need of a restful meal and some quality time to themselves, young 30-something couples and people popping in for a hump-day takeaway order. All students tend to migrate towards The Old Firehouse when pizza is fancied, but I recommend this restaurant for a more relaxed, intimate atmosphere, and for a greater selection of elaborate toppings.

Truffles Pizzeria is sadly lacking in a website and an accessible menu online, so I couldn’t do my favourite, unspontaneous habit and peruse the menu and decide what I was going to have beforehand. But its TripAdvisor profile, rating it #24 in the whole of Exeter, and at a stable 5 stars from over 100 happy customers, reassured my qualms concerning the menu. I can vouch that the pizza menu is extensive, for vegetarians and meat eaters alike, featuring experimental toppings like blue cheese, honey and walnut (without a tomato base) to the classic pepperoni. Pizzas are priced at approximately £11.50 each.

Typically I’d go for the most experimental, i.e. the blue cheese, honey and walnut combo, but I’ve seem to be recreating these same flavours again and again for my own recipes (like my pear and stilton flatbreads) because blue cheese and walnut are the recipe for a perfect marriage. On this occasion my reviewee date and I went for ‘The Autumn’, to enjoy the current seasonal flavours, and ‘The Vegetarian’. ‘The Autumn’ is apt for those with luxurious and expensive tastebuds as it was laden with mushrooms, pine nuts and truffle oil. The flavourful ‘Vegetarian’ option featured tender artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, green and black olives and caramelised onion. Both were a real treat, but ‘The Autumn’ was particularly distinct in flavour due to the drizzling of truffle oil and the abundance of toasted pine nuts.

The owner Chris is cheerful and welcoming, and the way he runs the restaurant truly reminds me of No 1 Polsloe’s style, as it has a lovely, personal touch which comes with independent businesses. For example, Chris recently invited in local primary school children to propose their own perfect pizzas, and the winning design made its way onto the menu. The walls are decorated with exceptional prints and drawings by local secondary school students, too.

I apologise that my photos aren’t up to my usual standard as the restaurant was romantically lit by candlelit, so the pictures do not do the pizzas justice. I would encourage you to try out Truffles whilst you have the chance before entering graduate life; it’s a perfect location for a cosy date. Alternatively, you can experience the pizza in the comfort of your own home with Deliveroo…

Truffles Pizzeria on Facebook

Truffles Pizzeria on TripAdvisor

 

Baby aubergine, date and tamarind curry

Baby aubergine, date and tamarind curry vegan; serves 2

I tried a date and tamarind chutney and just could not get the flavours out of my mind, so I tried to capture it in this curry 

Ingredients:

  • 4 baby aubergines
  • 1 medium brown onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 fresh chilli
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tin plum tomatoes
  • 10 medjool dates
  • 100g lentils of your choice (I’ve used green and red)
  • Handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C, and pop the baby aubergines onto a baking tray and drizzle a little olive oil over them. Bake them for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat a tbsp of vegetable oil in a saucepan and cook the onion, garlic and ginger for 5 minutes, or until browned. Add the fabulous spices -turmeric, cumin, garam masala and bay leaves – and cook for a further minute.
  3. Stir in the chilli, tamarind paste, plum tomatoes and medjool dates. Add the lentils – and water down if necessary. Add fresh coriander at the last few minutes.
  4. Serve once the lentils are well cooked, and the aubergine soft and juicy all the way through.

Aubergine katsu and miso crunch bao buns

Aubergine katsu and miso crunch bao buns makes 4 buns; vegetarian 

tackling this Taiwanese dish; they’re a worthwhile challenge. Here I combine the pillow soft buns with classic Asian flavours. 

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 130g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • ¼ tsp instant dried yeast
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 30ml whole milk
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil

Method:bao making.jpg

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, caster sugar, yeast and baking powder. Pour in the milk and sunflower oil; mix well until a smooth and stretchy dough is formed. Knead the dough for 10 minutes.
  2. Shape into a ball and wrap in clingfilm. Place in a bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for approximately 2 hours.
  3. Once the dough has doubled in size, separate into 4 equal-sized balls, weighing approximately 80g each.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the balls into flat oval shapes. Brush the dough with little sunflower oil. Fold over, placing a chopstick where the crease in the bun will be, so it can be filled with tasty ingredients.
  5. Prepare the steamer (this can be bamboo or stainless steel), and steam the buns in batches for 8 minutes each.

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetAubergine katsu bao:

  • 1 small aubergine, sliced into 1cm discs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp katsu curry paste
  • 5g fresh coriander, chopped

Method:

  1. Lightly dust the aubergine discs, then coat in beaten egg and panko breadcrumbs. Fry the coated aubergine in 1 tbsp sunflower oil, for 3 minutes on each side until cooked through andgolden brown.
  2. Gently warm the katsu curry paste, adding the fresh coriander. Fill the steamed buns up with the aubergine discs and curry paste.

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Miso crunch bao:

  • 70g cabbage, roughly shredded
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 4 radishes, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 small red chilli, sliced
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 1tsp dark soy sauce

Method:

  1. Fry the cabbage, spring onions, radishes, garlic, ginger, chilli in miso paste and soy sauce.
  2. Load up the steamed buns with the stir fry.

Salad to serve:

  • Spinach
  • Radishes
  • Fresh red chilli
  • Cucumber
  • Spring onions
  • A sprinkling of sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce

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