About our Companatico lunchtime menu

The Hearth was originally inspired by the rustic food of the Eastern Mediterranean, from Italy to Lebanon. Typically found in small family run establishments that often make use of spare rooms and excess produce from the owners farms or allotments. This style of food in Italy is known as “cucina povera” which is a small step up from “pane povera”. The Italians combined the two in companatico, which is basically peasant food served with bread. It’s simple, honest and inexpensive. Family recipes often handed down over generations, using only local produce – beans, pulses, vegetables and minimal cuts of meat.

These family run kitchens often fed the local labourers, during a break from the midday sun. In time some families developed their homes into osteria or trattoria. But at the heart of their commercial cooking is an understanding of provenance and frugality.

Sicily is at the epicentre of mediterranean cooking, heavily influenced by Levantine and North African cuisine. Our Sicilian chef Marco has dug out some old family recipes and cook books; carefully substituting locally sourced products wherever possible, High Weald Dairy halloumi, local salad and veg, meat from Newhaven, and our own flour to make fresh pasta, we believe we have created a perfect balance of ancient and modern, fresh and preserved, frugal and special.

We’ve had fun creating our dishes (and no we did not spend weeks driving round Italy in a beat up Cinqecento) and we hope that you will enjoy them. And 50p from every meal will go to our charitable organisation Bread for Life.

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