by Russell Norman

POLPO: A Venetian Cookbook (Of sorts)

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A dazzling tribute to Italy's greatest hidden cuisine.

Tucked away in a backstreet of London's edgy Soho district, POLPO is one of the hottest restaurants in town. Critics and food aficionados have been flocking to this understated bàcaro where Russell Norman serves up dishes from the back streets of Venice. A far cry from the tourist-trap eateries of the famous floating city, this kind of cooking is unfussy, innovative and exuberantly delicious.

The 140 recipes in the book include caprese stacks, zucchini shoestring fries, asparagus with Parmesan and anchovy butter, butternut risotto, arancini, rabbit cacciatore, warm duck salad with wet walnuts and beets, crispy baby pizzas with prosciutto and rocket, scallops with lemon and peppermint, mackerel tartare, linguine with clams, whole sea bream, warm octopus salad, soft-shell crab in Parmesan batter with fennel salad, walnut and honey semifreddo, tiramisù, fizzy bellinis and glasses of bright orange spritz.

With luminescent photography by Jenny Zarins, which captures the unfrequented corners, the bustling bàcari and the sublime waterways of Venice, POLPO is a dazzling tribute to Italy's greatest hidden cuisine.

320 pages
Published in 2012

About the Author

Russell Norman is an author, restaurateur and broadcaster. He is the co-founder of the POLPO group of restaurants. His first book "POLPO: A Venetian Cookbook (of Sorts)" won the inaugural Waterstones Book of the Year award in 2012. His second book "SPUNTINO: Comfort Food, New York Style" was published in September 2015 and won the Guild of Food Writers Award in the Food and Travel category.

In 2014 he presented The Restaurant Man, a six-part prime-time documentary for BBC 2. He is a contributing editor at Esquire Magazine where he writes a monthly column as The Accidental Cook.

His most recent book, "VENICE: Four Seasons of Home Cooking" saw him return to the city of his original inspiration to immerse himself in the food culture of genuine Venetian residents. Russell spent 14 months in a humble flat in the Castello district, shopping, cooking and writing through four seasons. He said of the experience: "I exiled myself in the world's most beautiful city for over a year in order to learn to cook like a 90 year-old Venetian granny."