Stevie Parle owns a fair few restaurants now. There’s Dock Kitchen, Craft London and Palatino. You’ve got Rotorino, the one he co owns with that chap who runs Street Feast. And then there’s Sardine which he consults on.
Pastaio is his first go at a central london site, this time serving only a small array of handmade-daily pasta dishes. It’s a large space with an open kitchen at one end and a colourful mural by graphic artist Supermundane at the other.
We start by sharing buffalo mozzarella (£6.50) and heritage tomatoes (£5). The quality of both is superb and it’s a combination I’ll never tire of.
Bread (£2.80) travels down from Cornwall every couple of days from Coombeshead Farm. That’s the new farm, guesthouse, restaurant and bakery from Tom Adams and April Bloomfield. The crust is so fine it’s made me want to visit.
A fried sandwich filled with more of that lovely mozzarella (£4.50) could have done with a couple of seconds longer under the grill to melt the cheese fully but it’s a lovely thing to eat. I long for the hangover it’s perfect for.
To the main event: the pasta. Cacio e Pepe (£7) was made London-famous by Padella. There, the thick worms of pasta sit in a buttery, peppery sauce and it’s the d’s b’s. Here, the spaghetti-like pasta (Bucatini) is thinner but the sauce clings to it just as well. It’s a marvellous plate of food.
Little striped shells of pasta called Malloredus (£8) are another great vehicle for another great sauce. This time it’s slow cooked sausage topped with some crust crumbs from the bread. Such a clever addition. Not only does it add texture but the burnt notes cut through the richness perfectly.
Tagliatelle with wild mushrooms (£10) is pongy with garlic and peppery from olive oil. Now the weather has turned baltic this is the sort of food I’m craving more and more.
For dessert, the tiramisu (£5) is big enough to share although light enough to demolish on your own. It’s not a dessert I have often but I’m pretty certain it can’t be made more perfect than that. It’s a must order.
There’s a really charming vibe at Pastaio. Service is relaxed and friendly, the pasta comes out quick and the portion sizes are perfect for getting a few bits to share. If carb loading is your thing, here’s one for the top of your list.
Would we go back? Yes
We dined as guests of the restuarant