chill beef ragu potato, Ksenia Karpenko, Nix and Kix, potato desert, potato restaurant, Soho, Sommelier, stracciatella, superfood potato, sweet potato, sweet potato ceviche, Sweet Potato Kingdom, sweet potato tartlet, The Potato Project, Twist on the classics
Last weekend courtesy of The Food Sauce I got to venture out to a fabulous little place in Soho called The Potato Project. I had a few strange looks when I told friends I was going to a potato event and I must admit I wasn’t too sure what to expect either. With Irish parents, potatoes have always been quite a fixture in our evening meals growing up however apart from eating sweet potato fries quite a lot I can’t say I eat potatoes all that much.
Carbohydrates and potatoes have been cast in a negative life in the last ten years and marketed as a cause to weight gain. When hoping to lose weight, the majority of diet plans will say cut out your carbs and potatoes however when it comes to healthy eating potatoes are actually extremely good for you in that not only are they nutritious but they are filling too.
Therefore the fact that there is now a company based in London that serves potatoes with a variety of different flavors along with delicious starters and a potato infused desert is a pretty special thing!
The Potato Project opened 6 months ago on Noel Street in Soho and is a charming, intimate and friendly place. Its owner Ksenia Karpenko was extremely friendly and accommodating and gave us a history about how The Potato Project started. As a Sommelier, Ksenia’s passion is in wine and she wanted to set up a wine restaurant in London. She bought the venue in Soho, however soon realised that it was too small and not quite the right venue to store wine. Having been brought up in Russia, potatoes were a big part of her diet, especially as her grandma knew over 50 different recipes and was always introducing her to different flavours and so Ksenia began looking into the prospect of opening a potato restaurant. After researching other related foodie places in London she realised there was a gap in the market for a place to sell potatoes and that is when The Potato Project was born.
It has only been opened for 6 months but they are already extremely popular and one of the lovely things about it is that they have regular customers whom they have built up relationships with. It is not surprising either once you take a look at the menu and the reasonable cost of the potatoes which range from £3.95 to £5.50. I expected maybe 3 or 4 different types of potatoes to try but I was completely blown away by the variety on offer and felt extremely lucky that we were able to try several of the food items.
To start, we began with the most amazing avocados with chili sauce and corn chips. The sweet chili sauce complemented the avocado so well and with the saltiness of the chips the starter was super delicious.
To follow we had a Watermelon Tomato Salad with Roasted Goat Cheese as well as Roasted Carrots with Stracciatella & Mango Chutney. I had never tried Stracciatella before but the elastic, stretchy cheese produced from Italian buffalo milk is one of a kind and worked beautifully with the carrots. To accompany our food for the day our drinks were sponsored by Nix and Kix, a refreshing soft drink with a special ingredient – cayenne chili. The first flavor we sampled was Rich Mango & Zingy Ginger, which definitely was a great pick me up drink, and complemented the food perfectly.
The menu is divided into the Sweet Potato Kingdom and a Twist on the Classics.
We had three choices from Sweet Potato Kingdom. First off was Sweet Potato Ceviche Style consisting of fresh prawns with a citrus dressing. Second was Superfood Sweet Potato with Quinoa, Kale, Almonds & Pomegranate. This was absolutely delicious and showed as everyone simply couldn’t stop digging in for more. Healthy, filling and flavoursome, it was definitely a popular potato from the day. I also loved the Sweet Potato with Mozzarella, Pesto & Sun-dried Tomato. Pesto and Sun-dried Tomato’s in pasta is always a winner but with Sweet Potato and Cheese – simply wow!
After sampling the sweet potatoes I didn’t actually think you could beat them however I have to admit the classics were just as good.
For the Twist on the Classics we had Chilli Beef Ragu & Blue Cheese Borlotti Bean, Tomato & Mature Cheddar Cheese and Tuna Mayonnaise, Roast Corn & Pickled Red Onion
All potatoes were presented beautifully, the ragu definitely standing out and was very popular. Ksenia informed us that the tuna was the most popular with customers and I would have to agree. Tuna and sweetcorn is always a classic combination for a jacket potato but the pickled red onion gave it that extra crunch. Nix Kix’s cool cucumber and fresh mint was a perfect match, with its refreshing taste and kick.
Just when we thought we couldn’t eat anymore, and at this point I was absolutely stuffed, we were presented with a Sweet Potato Tartlet with Honey, Ginger, Mint, Almonds & Vanilla Ice Cream. Well these definitely proved that there is always room for desert as the tarts were devoured in pretty much 60 seconds.
The Potato project is an absolute gem of a place and one that I will most definitely be visiting again. It is easy to see why it has become so popular and at such reasonable value it could be easy to go and get your lunch from there everyday. I know if I worked around the corner from it I would probably end up doing just that.