Burrata is without doubt the newest millennial trend. We’ve had the rosé turned into frosé and doughnuts, the avocado on toast came next and now we have the queen of the Italian cheeses. What once was a rare find on menus across London is now available everywhere and with a huge assortment of accompaniments on the plate, the humble red tomato is no longer sufficient. When a restaurant gets it right, it is something truly special. When it goes wrong, you wish that they had just stuck to that tomatoes. For the purpose of this article we will focus on the burrata dishes you need to try. In all instances the cheese is fresh, creamy, heavenly, delightful and any other adjective you can think of that basically means it tastes great.
Harrys Dolce Vita
The burrata here comes with a side order of drama and theatrics. The cheese itself is smoked with rosemary and is bought to your table under a transparent lid where you can see said smoke hovering above the cheese. Unfortunately, they were all too fast for me to get a photo, but the lid is pulled off and used to push the smoke towards your already watering mouth. Although the hit of rosemary is brief, it’s intense and you get a little taste in every mouthful. It comes on a bed of roasted peppers, basil, capers and olives. Do the capers belong on the plate? For me they don’t but I’m sure some people will enjoy the flavour. Also if you’re wondering why those look like tomatoes and not peppers, it’s because they are. I very strongly dislike peppers.
One look at the sleek Parisian inspired interiors of this place tells you that the burrata here isn’t going to come as a standalone item on the plate. No, NAC is far too chic for that. Here it comes served with confit tomato, wild garlic oil and sunflower seeds. I’m a little conflicted here because whatever was served tasted great, it allowed the cheese to reign supreme on the plate. I’m just not sure that it was tomato and garlic because I couldn’t taste either. Do not let this put you off though, it is most definitely worth eating.
San Carlo Cicchetti
If you don’t like truffles, skip onto the next restaurant now. The burrata here comes on top of some chopped cherry tomatoes and pieces of rocket and underneath a pile of freshly shaved black truffles. The portion is quite small but that is completely fine because it fits with the concept of cicchetti. In a restaurant where cheese is prominent in so many dishes, it can be easy to just skip over this. Doing so would be a huge mistake because the freshness of the cheese works so well with the flavour of truffle. My words don’t do it justice, just go and try it and then you will understand.
My love story with burrata began at the Portobello branch of Pizza East back in 2015. I remember the waitress described it to me as a creamier version of mozzarella and I was sold. Since then, it has changed as a dish so many times being served with bread, with aubergines, on its own and on my most recent visit, with heritage tomatoes. Here the cheese isn’t served in a ball as you find everywhere else but instead it is opened up and spread out. The fact that I managed to get a photo before my family devoured the whole thing is an achievement in itself. I know I said the red tomato is no longer sufficient but here you’ll find some yellow ones so that makes it different, right? Pizza east is an example of doing the basics right and having enough confidence in the ingredients to let them sing and shout for themselves. On a side note, you can also order a burrata pizza here where a huge lump of the good stuff is put on top of an aubergine and pesto pizza.
Famed for its pici cacio e pepe and all its pasta to be honest, Padella was and still is the darling of foodies, journalists and everyone who has ever eaten there. It is for me one of the truest representations of Italy in London. Don’t however ignore the antipasti section and in particular the burrata. Don’t let the fact that it is served with Fiorano olive oil and nothing else fool you. The two are made for one another and with the addition of some freshly baked sourdough, you have perfection. 3 is the magic number after all. The little ball comes in what can only be described as an ocean of the olive oil and I am all for it. The only slight issue, the queue can sometimes get ridiculously long but trust me, it is worth the wait.
Compiling this list wasn’t easy by any means. There are many commendable options out there. Leaving Santa Maria off this list really pained me but I don’t think a pizza topped with aubergine, rocket and pecorino counts as an accompaniment to a portion of burrata. Credit must also be given to Cecconis at The Ned who serve up an absolutely huge piece of the cheese. It is also the cover photo for this article in case you were wondering. It is important to note that for all the above, excluding Padella, you will be paying upwards of £10 for the dish. Is this expensive? Yes, of course it is but then you remember that the object in question is a ball of mozzarella infused with thick cream and at that point all you want is that burrata on your table as fast as possible.