My fantasy restaurant is called …

… Lardo

Having listened to the wise words of BBC Two’s Restaurant Man, Russell Norman, at this year’s Port Eliot Festival, I harbour no illusions as to opening my own establishment (particularly after The Lobster Massacre incident).

That hasn’t stopped me fantasising about what my ideal restaurant would be like when I did finally get round to opening it (watch this space). None of this American fast food sold at eye-watering prices; none of this ‘local and seasonal’ draped over menus like cheap bunting and none of this trad-Brit-fusion faff. My menu would be lard. All the way. Straight up, in every single dish.

With recent research finally blowing the cover of evil industrially-produced spreads as being exactly that: nasty chemicals in a box that says low-fat (yuk), I am going old-school big-time. Fat is back.

Say goodbye to crow’s feet, hello to nutritious, energy-dense foods that will leave you so satisfied there will be no need to reach out for snacks and who needs lipstick when you can have a smear of piggy lard on your pouting lips instead? (A recent conversation with my butcher about where his off-cuts and bones go revealed that the majority go to the beauty industry to make lipstick).

Here is my fantasy restaurant, an unctuous greasy concept called Lardo:

Décor: cream walls, industrial silver lighting and piping. Simple wooden tables and chairs with plump cream cushions and some accent colours. Reclaimed wooden floorboards. Starters: Dripping on sourdough toast with seasalt and black pepper. Slices of gossamer thin lardo with gherkins and capers on the side and fresh bread. Homemade pork scratchings Mains: Rabbit confit Steak and kidney pudding in a suet crust. Pork belly with crackling Dessert: Marmalade suet pudding Sussex pond pudding Lardy cake Homemade custard, clotted cream or double cream available with all of the above. Coffee: bullet-proof coffee (black coffee blended with butter and coconut oil).

Vegetarian: most of the above can be adapted and made with butter or vegetarian suet but please be aware that if you eat dairy products, male calves are slaughtered so that you can.


Praise the lard: a beginner’s guide

lardLard. Lardy. Or as the Italians romantically refer to it: lardo. The associations with shivering rolls of chubby flesh being chased around the playground are comic yet laced with danger. Far from innocent yet not proven guilty, accusations of raising cholesterol and clogging arteries have outlawed lard to the margins of our kitchens. Instead, taking centre stage in the frying pan is lard’s sexier, slimmer (and expensiver) continental cousin- olive oil.

But are we doing the right thing by cutting down so dramatically on something that tastes so good? Read More