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Sotto Cucina & Bar will launch at Hyatt Place London City East in Whitechapel, London, on 14th May 2024; a contemporary Sicilian kitchen and bar led by Sicilian executive chef Alfio Laudani.

Sotto Cucina & Bar will serve a menu of contemporary Sicilian dishes with a focus on quality British ingredients. The menu of typically Sicilian flavours marries the influence of Alfio’s food-centred upbringing in the Catania region of Sicily with his seventeen years cooking in top London restaurants – including The Rex Whistler and Cipriani. Freshness and quality of ingredients are at the heart of the menu and produce is wherever possible locally sourced in the UK; key ingredients such as Etna olive oil and Etna lemons being notable exceptions.

At the underground Sicilian kitchen and bar guests will experience the charm of Sicilian trattorias, with interiors combining rustic elegance with contemporary art. A steep industrial staircase takes you to the lower ground floor, where the seventy-seater restaurant with deli bar and outdoor ‘terrazza’ is a sanctuary from the bustling streets above. Wall art includes murals from local London based street artists along with an exhibition of sustainable art and a new Sam Kerridge artwork, specially commissioned for the launch of the restaurant.

Alfio Laudani

The menu

In a selection of aperitivo dishes the Caponata comes straight from Alfio’s family recipe book. While his Saffron Arancini with Datterino tomato jam and superstraccia are a delicious break from tradition in being entirely vegan. Other antipasti include Terrina di Pollo alla Stimpirata: Stimpirata is a sweet and sour stew typical across Sicily but served on the Sotto Cucina & Bar menu as a terrine of pressed chicken terrine with roast peppers, capers and mint.

A selection of pasta dishes will include Alfio’s signature dish; Timballo alla Norma. This baked pasta dish with Sicilian Anelletti, tomato sauce, fried aubergine and ricotta salsa is cooked to his father’s recipe. Other pasta dishes include Taglioni Gaberretti e Zucchine, taglioni pasta, king prawns, bisque and green courgette, and Maccheroni con Ragù di Salsiccia; maccheroni pasta with a spiced Sicilian fennel sausage ragout.

The menu will feature plenty of seafood with British fish the star of the classic Sicilian dishes. Fish main courses include Branzino alla Ghiotta; a Sicilian dish of whole grilled seabass, cherry tomato, olives, capers and Tropea onion; and Merluzzo in Agrodolce, a dish of fried cod cheeks, sweet and sour onion crispy potato and mint.

Other main courses include Tagliata di Manzo, Chargrilled 35-day aged beef sirloin, baby bell pepper fritti and Etna olive oil. Vegan dish Scarola e faggioli usually served as a soup is served at as a borlotti bean stew with escarole steak and pistachio crumb.

Desserts will include Cuccia, a typical Sicilian dessert of ricotta and wheatberry pudding, orange peel, chestnut honey and cinnamon, and Torta Mandorle e Cioccolato; a dark chocolate and almond cake with chilli jam and mascarpone cream.

The wine list from Manuel Lorente Rubio focuses on Mediterranean wines with a number of wines from Sicily. Cocktails, created by Lucrezia Frosutto will be aperitivo inspired, perfect for sipping pre-dinner on the restaurant’s alfresco terrazza. The signature cocktails include the Assolato with Bourbon, peach liquor, Amaro Averna, lemon juice and sugar syrup and the Biondo with vodka, Aperol and Limoncello.

Art at Sotto Cucina & Bar

Sotto Cucina & Bar will be a space for new art and artists to display their work. For the launch the restaurant has commissioned a series of sustainable artworks from students at Norwich University of the Arts. All the artwork has been created with the sustainability ethos of Hyatt Place London City East in mind. The frames have been created from recycled wood and the pieces range from watercolour prints to hanging silk pieces. The restaurant has also commissioned a new piece of artwork from local street artist Sam Kerridge in addition to his wall mural which stretches across the alfresco Terrazza. At the entrance to the restaurant guests will also find a striking mural from street artist Jay Kaes.

Sotto Scopa

To celebrate the launch ‘in the know diners’ are invited to play Sotto Scopa for a chance to win their meal for free throughout May. When the bill arrives guests ask their waiter to play Scopa. They will then be presented with an Italian deck of cards for a game of Sotto Scopa. Inspired by the Italian game of Scopa, guests will win if the card on the cut deck is a match for the card on the table. Alternatively they can choose to donate the cost of their meal to a local charity. Any table of four or less who mention Scopa to their waiter when paying the bill are given one chance to play.

Sotto Cucina & Bar will open on Tuesday 14th May and is now open for bookings. For more information, menus or to make a booking visit:

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