The breakfast background story
Chef Natale Schotti has been at the helm of PRIMI’s recipe development for the last year, her food background embracing the whole of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. You taste these influences in the fresh herbs, citrus highlights and gentle spices that enliven each dish, and she’s passionate about using ancient traditions such as fermenting foods to add both flavour and nutritional value.
“The doughs we use for our breads and pizza are fermented and aged for at least 48 hours,” says Natale, “so you get a much better eating experience, a lot lighter.” These include a light crusty sour dough ciabatta and a dense, delicious rye.
I decided to try the PRIMI power breakfast. My eggs were delightfully sunnyside up, my ciabatta toast was crisped to perfection, while my mushroom and tomato saute added that extra special kick to an otherwise simple breakfast meal. My partner indulged in the chicken liver breakfast- An unusual choice in my opinion, but I ended up eating more of that than my own! The taste is unlike anything I had before, savoury, slightly spicy and very unconventional, yet absolutely delicious.
As well as researching old food traditions, Natale is very firm about cooking without any preservatives and making everything from scratch in house. She’s introduced two age-old condiments into the PRIMI kitchens. The first is a simple green salt. Natural rock salt ground with celery and slow-dried herbs, it’s bursting with flavour and is used judiciously in every dish. Another favourite element from the Levant is toum.
“Toum is ancient, it’s fresh garlic ground down with lemon juice, salt and oil,” explains Natale, “it’s something that is amazingly flavourful, and I love using quirky old traditional things and giving them a new coating.”
Locally sourced ingredients
There are only three ingredients that PRIMI imports from Italy, their tinned tomatoes, for that true Italian flavor, their bronze-cut pasta and the fine 00 flour. All the rest is sourced locally and Natale buys from an accomplished local cheese maker.
“We use a lot of fresh cheeses,” she says, “in particular the aged mozzarella for our pizzas, also the fresh fior di latte mozzarella, and a wonderful salted ricotta, slightly aged, creamy and rich, it’s a gorgeous cheese.”
The breakfast menu
There’s plenty more on the revamped breakfast menu, which reads temptingly in several chapters, from the indulgent Eggs Benedict in four variations, the Frittatas, Breakfast Bowls and classic straightforward bacon and egg combos like the PRIMI Power. Look out on the drinks section too for the new warmly spiced Masala Chai tea and latte. Don’t expect to manage more than one dish at a sitting (unless you’ve run a mini marathon before breakfast), they are generous and filling; but if you can’t decide between several of the mouth-watering descriptions, why not order several dishes for the table and share. It’s not tapas but there’s no reason why the sharing approach can’t work for breakfast too.
Above all, Natale’s focus is on unpretentious, easy eating that just happens to be healthy, and that appeals to all the senses.
“I don’t want to be preachy about health benefits and so on,” she concludes, “I just want to include things that are healthy and tasty that work with the dish, amazing life-giving elements with flavours that speak for themselves.”
For more information on PRIMI and to find your neighbourhood restaurant, please visit www.primi-world.com and join the breakfast conversation using #IAMUrban