Ponti opened earlier this year and offers something new to Bournemouth towns’ casual dining and café culture scene. I decided to visit them a few weeks ago, intrigued by their big open kitchen (instantly appealing) and sleek, expansive, glass display cabinet, filled with homemade Italian confectionery, baked goods and hot food.
It is run with absolute grace by husband and wife duo, Nahid and Mario, who so famously established Da Mario; one of Bournemouth’s best pizza houses. They have a great team of young, all-Italian speaking staff that are attentive and helpful in explaining what is on display. Described as a Tavola Calda, or cafeteria, Ponti is not the type of cafeteria, selling hot food and pastries in the British understanding of the word. It is much more refined and offers a simple selection of homemade Italian food.
The walls are white washed and the room filled with sharing tables. The atmosphere is very pure and unfussy. With freshly prepared sandwiches and pastries being added to the display from the kitchen as the morning progresses, it is like gazing through a fish tank of edibles. Very moorish.
I began my morning with the usual Americano, and the not so usual – a romantically named biscuit called a Baci di Dama or ‘lady’s kiss’. From Northern Italy’s Piedmont region, it was a delicate, almond-y biscuit with a cream filling. The perfect coffee mate, followed by a Cornetti, with chocolate cream filling that melted away to nothing on my tongue.
There is a menu of hot breakfast options served from 8am until 11am. And of course, these are good value for money. I chose the smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, with sour dough bread for £4.95. A simple classic.
When executed well, restaurants can have the artistry of taking you away to another place. Little did I know then that my quiet morning review would turn into a day of gnocchi making, airy donut testing, and a culinary education into some of Italy’s regional delicacies.
After brunch, I ventured to the back where I could see Salvatore and Federico preparing food in the open kitchen. I love this aspect of Ponti. The food that Italians create is evocative – it brings joy and is very inclusive. Salvatore pulled a freshly baked focaccia from the oven and started preparing the fillings. Nahid then explained how they make their donuts: proven for 24 hours and made from a delicate mixture of potatoes, flour, orange peel and the oh-so crunchy sugar coating finish. They are delicious: light and pillow-y with a hint of orange. Note: they are working on gluten free versions so that everyone can enjoy this guilty pleasure.
As if all this wasn’t enough, I was asked to come back at 12.30pm to see how Salvatore makes his Gnocchi alla Sorrentina, or Sorrento style. A simple potato dumpling served with fine tomato sauce infused with basil, and topped with a thick carpet of Parmesan. Glorious. I even had the opportunity to make my own. Note: look out for pasta making classes on offer for small groups and children.
Absolutely stuffed but not beaten, I had to try the classic ‘Diplomatic’ pastry. With its mini-layers of puff pastry, dreamy light sponge and best of all, the Italian Chantilly cream with rum liquor – it is forkable. I haven’t stopped thinking about it and want everyone to try it. You deserve it.
Ponti’s focus is to provide you with true and simple tastes of Italy, concentrating on doing their food well and showcasing original and authentic recipes.
Do follow them here @ponti.104 in order to remain updated on cooking classes, offers and new pastries, bakes, pizzas and more.
104 Commercial Road
|Invited by PR company?||No|
|Guest of chef/restaurant/owner?||Yes|
|Restaurant/outlet knew ahead we were bloggers?||Yes|
|Was the meal complimentary from the restaurant?||Yes|
|Any complimentary items provided by restaurant/outlet?||Yes|