Tucked around the corner from Oxford Circus underground, we see ourselves as the perfect complement to the West End hum. Italian casual dining is our proud claim, cooking what we love to eat ourselves, with impeccable service and unimpeachable, authentic ingredients.View our gallery
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Przemek joined in a junior kitchen role in 2010 and has pulled a serious number of shifts in becoming Head Chef. "I fell in love with cooking food at Ponti's because of the ingredients they use," said Przemek. "I meet suppliers over in Italy and get to know about the provenance of the produce, which is really important to me. Another great perk of the job is visiting some incredible restaurants over there, such as La Locanda Del Falco in Piacenza. Every time I go I learn something new that I can bring to the Ponti's menu."
He works closely with the senior team, monitoring the market for new suppliers and ingredients to keep the menu fresh and exciting. That might mean selecting tender steaks from our wholesale butcher in Smithfield Market, or working with our Italian suppliers to choose artisan products from the Piacenza food valley.
In spite of the quest for new food and flavours, Przemek is as old-fashioned as they come in some regards. He has on-going love affair with producing homemade pasta for hungry Ponti's diners. "The Italians worked out a long time ago that simple, fresh ingredients produce the best results and pasta is a shining example of this. Nothing frozen, nothing part-made, that's the way we can make food that tastes absolutely superb."
He may be king of the kitchen in the restaurant, but his biggest test remains when he cooks for his mum. "She's such a great cook that if I can impress her, I can impress anyone."
His first pocket money came from washing glasses in a GAA club (Gaelic Athletic Association, a sporting and cultural organisation that links communities all over Ireland) aged 14.
Home was County Kildare, near Dublin with the route into hospitality seemingly pre-ordained. "With a father and uncle in the industry, it seemed normal to me and I could not imagine anything else," said Rob. His first job of note was at The Springfield Hotel in Dublin, before moving to England and The Pilgrim, a hugely popular bar and kitchen in South London.
So successful was his impact that he was headhunted to Beijing, to set up a number of new projects in China; a Moroccan-style souk lounge, a three-storey Irish pub and a fabulous steakhouse, the Parkside Bar & Grill. His new creations saw him splashed on the cover of Timeout Beijing and a three-time winner of 'Best New Bar' in the city.
He returned to London in 2013 and a friend introduced him to Ponti's, where that Irish twinkle and flair saw rapid promotion to General Manager and his total absorption in the business. "I'm very lucky to enjoy my work so much, with every day bringing something different. The best barometer, in fact the only barometer, is the customer, so ensuring that our team look after them in the best possible way is my sole focus."
Rob is a self-confessed disciple of Italian food. He's eager to recommend antipasti meat as a starter, accompanied by a glass of Falanghina Beneventano: "An absolute corker, nicely acidic to go with the meat." For a main he's a sucker for the pizza Diavola (spicy salami and Nduja sausage) washed down with a little prosecco. Good choices.