A visit to Eusebi Deli has been a long time coming for me. When the West End branch opened, many foodies flocked to the popular deli-come-cafe-come-restaurant and wrote rave reviews. Since then, a number of my friends and counterparts have declared their love for Eusebi’s, whilst I’ve also heard some less favourable reviews. I finally headed along last week, eager to make my own decision.
The menu changes seasonally, and so some of Rosie’s past favourites and things I’d been recommended were no longer on the menu. However there are plenty of options, with the menu split into Antipasti, Boards, Pasta, Pinsa and Mains. After quite a bit of deliberating, Rosie and I opted for the Classic Board and the Roe Deer Crudo to share.
The Classic Board features thin slices of mortadella, parma ham and wild boar salami, accompanied by roasted peperonata and chunks of focaccia. Each of the three meats were nice, with their own subtle flavours, though the winner was definitely the delicious wild boar salami. A little peppery, the salami had a nice smoky, savoury flavour and was by far my favourite meat on the board. The focaccia bread was pretty decent, while everything was lifted by the sweet roasted peperonata. In fact, I could easily have eaten the whole portion of peperonata, as it was sweet, moist and moreish and was the perfect compliment to each of the individual elements on the board.
The Roe Deer Crudo was served with pomegranate and hazelnuts, and was a nicely presented dish. The slivers of deer had a much milder flavour than I expected, but the jewels of pomegranate dotted across the dish provided a boost of sweetness that contrasted the nuttiness of the hazelnuts. This dish was nice enough, though I don’t think it was worth the £8.50 we paid for it. While deer is obviously a sought-after ingredient, which pushes the price up, it was so thinly sliced in this dish that I really think the price could have been lower. Lowering the price might also make it more realistic for people to make a meal out of a few of the antipasti dishes on the menu, which tend to come in around the £6-£9 mark.
Of course we couldn’t leave with sampling some of the fabulous looking desserts and cakes on display. Rosie selected the Pistachio Doughnut, and I the Nutella Doughnut. There were a number of other delicious looking desserts in the cabinet, but as none of them had signs on them I opted for something easy to identify. A niggle that is, to be honest, very easily rectified. The doughnuts were massive beasts, Rosie’s split down the middle and filled with a thick layer of subtly nutty, not-too-sweet pistachio cream. My doughnut was filled in the centre only, with a generous helping of pure Nutella. As nice as this was, I could have done with some cream to break through the thickness of the sweet chocolate filling which made for a heavy doughnut.
I had a couple of other issues in Eusebi’s – one food related and one not so much. The majority of the deli and cake counters are covered, but there are some things on display on top of the glass. When so many people are wandering about to look at the counters, this is not the most hygienic option and I would personally rather see all food placed under cover. My other little annoyance was the giant mirror wall across from the toilet – who wants to watch themselves in the loo, I ask you?! Not something which particularly ruined my visit, but also not something which rates highly in my book!
Overall, I did enjoy my visit to Eusebi Deli, and probably would return. Much of the food I saw delivered to other tables looked very tasty, and I noted a few nice looking dishes for my next visit. And if they get some signs on their cakes, cover up their food, and get rid of the giant mirror? Well, then my next visit will be all the better for it.