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Blue Sardinia – Not Just Italian, It’s Regional Italian

Published on: 22 Feb, 2017
Updated on: 23 Feb, 2017

By Megan Wilman

As any keen foodie worth their sea salt would know, many of the best restaurants are built on authentic, fresh food and a great atmosphere.

If these are the qualities you look for you in an eatery you could try Blue Sardinia on Sydenham Road.

A family run business, only with us since November, Blue Sardinia, with its clean, fresh interior paired with the authentic Sardinian cuisine, attentiveness and relaxed atmosphere, is modern meets traditional. Owners Cinzia Lecca and Johnathan Lecca welcomed us to sample their menu.

Cinzia came to Guildford 27 years ago with the intention to stay only a while and learn English, but she fell in love with the town and has not left since. Her brother, Johnathan, joined her four years later.

Together they opened popular restaurant Al Vicolo in Swan Lane and their pizzeria, Shardana, just off the High Street, before expanding into their new venture.

“We just wanted a bigger restaurant, because Al Vicolo was quite small. We wanted a traditional setting for a restaurant, something unusual,” says Cinzia of their new addition.

It is the pair’s pride in their heritage that really helps Blue Sardinia stand out from other Italian eateries.

“We are a regional restaurant, not just an Italian restaurant. There are so many Italian restaurants; of course we have Shardana which is Italian with pizza, pasta and recipes from all over Italy. We wanted somewhere which is just regional. We wanted to impart our ingredients, with Sardinian foods and wine just to have something different.”

Classic bruschetta on traditional Sardinian flatbread

This passion is reflected in the food. To start we are served a classic bruschetta on traditional Sardinian flatbread and wild boar bresaola topped with rocket and pecorino cheese.

The use of the crispier bread perfectly offsets the mild bruschetta for a contrast of textures and the salty boar is well balanced with the creamy pecorino and peppery salad, served with bitter truffled honey.

“Bread and things come from Sardinia, the wine, the cheeses and olives,” Cinzia explains.  “We try to do everything as authentic as we can, I’d say 90%. We also support the local Sardinian people, for example the bread made is not very far from the village where were born, they send it to us.”

More traditional fare is served in the form of Sardinian gnochetti in a sausage ragout. The dish is lifted with the added surprise ingredient of fennel seeds.

A vegan option was made on request of baked aubergine in a beautifully rich tomato sauce, both presented with edible flowers.

In addition to such carefully crafted food, there may be some hidden benefits of dining like a Sardinian. “The reason the restaurant is called Blue Sardinia is because Sardinia is a ‘blue zone’. Blue zones are places around the world where the longevity is very high, people can live over 100 years. So in the village where we were born, due to the diet and family values, people live longer. It’s all to do with fresh ingredients, very simple, and that’s our menu.”

A requested vegan option – baked aubergine in a rich tomato sauce with edible flowers.

Of course, a fine meal deserves a fine wine, and the restaurant has no shortage of options. Johnathan in particular speaks with enthusiasm as he demonstrates his encyclopaedic knowledge.

“It’s an experience,” he says simply. “In most restaurants they usually only have one Chianti, we have about 10. It does not have to just be about the usual pairings such as white wine with fish or red wine with red meat when there might be one that is more suitable for the dish.”

Johnathan explains that the restaurant also offers wine tasting sessions for those wishing to learn more about how to create a perfect pairing.

We were served an organic, vegan white wine from the wide selection available. It was smooth and mellow without being  overpowering, the perfect backdrop which kept the focus on the delicious food.

The team is driven by close family connections, not only Cinzia’s and Johnatan’s, but their younger brother Ivan working in the kitchen. Cinzia adds, “We wouldn’t be able to do it without each other, if I wanted to do it by myself it wouldn’t be the same. Also because we come from a special background we must stick together, so the family aspect is important to us.”

Wild boar bresaola topped with rocket and pecorino cheese

Finally, a wonderful restaurant is not complete without equally wonderful staff. Our waiter, Alfie, is an old family friend of the Lecca’s and could not have been more attentive. In Blue Sardinia you are never made to feel rushed and nothing is too much trouble.

“Our main aim is to make people happy,” Cinzia concludes, “If you come here, we want you to have what you are asking for.”

So despite the summer holidays being far from round the corner, you can still indulge yourself with a slice of the Sardinian life with some of the best food and wine straight from the island, no plane ticket required.

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Responses to Blue Sardinia – Not Just Italian, It’s Regional Italian

  1. Dave Middleton Reply

    February 28, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    On a slightly historic note, wasn’t the building that this restaurant now occupies, once the RAF and Army Careers Office in Guildford?

    I took my entrance tests for the RAF in Guildford and I seem to recall that that’s where I took them.

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