I'm eating around the world without leaving London and this week I had Maltese food at Parparellu. It's a tiny coffee shop/lunch place on the Fulham Palace Road in Hammersmith that's easily missed when walking by. But it shouldn't be.
The decor is nothing to get excited about; it's got tables and chairs and a food counter, but what else do you need? The walls are decorated with posters from the Mediterranean island, making me wonder why in the world I've never actually been.
Even though the interior isn't all that cosy, the staff on the other hand is. The gentleman behind the bar greeted us warmly and after I told him I was writing a food blog about the place, he made an effort to explain all the different dishes, breads and pastries on display.
He explained that there are loads of foreign cultures that shaped the Maltese language, customs and also food. There are dishes that have a very Arabic ring to it, such as ftira, which is a Maltese bread and Hobz biz-zejt which is a sourdough bread filled with tuna capers and onions. Some sweets he showed us, sounded unmistakably Italian, like cassatella, biskutini and kanoli.
We asked for the most authentic Maltese food he had on offer and my friend and I shared a baked pasta dish with a tomato sauce and peas, topped with a layer of puff pastry called timpara. We also shared a pastry parcel filled with mushy peas called qassatat and to finish off our meal we also had a kwalezimar which was soft doughy pastry that tasted like our a Dutch spiced caked, topped with nuts.
Of course I had to try the uber Maltese drink called Kinnie, which tasted like an alcohol free aperol, but it did have a bit of a funky after taste.
There are lots of other tasty hot dishes, summery salads and sandwiches on offer at Parpadellu, so even if Maltese food sounds too exotic for some, I think this is a fab lunch option if you happen to work around Hammersmith.
You can find more info on their site.