This is the latest one from Stevie Parle (he’s the chap who brought us Rotorino, Dock Kitchen, Sardine and Craft) and it is house in the ground floor of a new â€˜pro-workingâ€™ space in Clerkenwell called Fora.
The name Palatino is both an ancient hill in Rome and a Roman font, which the logo on the menu is printed in. The food, as you might have guessed, also specialises in all things Roman.
We start with fried sage leaves (Â£3) with a sharp honey vinegar – perfect for cutting through the grease. An ice cold beer and a plate of that and I’d be happy. Another snack is anchovy and stracciatella on toast (Â£3.50) which are lovely little morsels.
Puntarelle salad (Â£5) comes drenched in an anchovy sauce which is pungent in the very best of ways. Puntarelle is a variant of chicory by the way.
Ravioli filled with squash (Â£8) has vibrantly green yet light and thin pasta. In fact, all the pasta we try is rather good. Tonnarelli cacio e pepe (Â£6.50) may not get you ‘standing on your chair waving your hankie in the air’ like you might at Padella but it’s still a mighty fine plate of food. Bombolotti (Â£8), a cross between penne and macaroni, is the perfect shape to hold all that lovely ragu – the recipe of which is a homage to Marcella Hazan – cookbook author and queen of Italian cooking.
For secondi, a thick cutÂ pork chop (Â£17) has that thing I never quite manage to achieve at home; soft, tender meat with crisp fat. It comes topped with a light drizzle of anchovy cream which is a great bedfellow.
Onglet steak (Â£12.50) sees chunks of bright red meat with the slight chewiness you get from onglet matched with huge flavour. Bream with onions and pine nuts and raisins (Â£17.50) is light and lovely.
Youâ€™ll need sides (all Â£4). Get the fried potato gnocchi, all crispy and salty, and borlotti beans for some sustenance. A small dish of swiss chard is just a bit too bitter for me.
For pud, the three of us share the quince, almond and rosemary tart (Â£6) which is on the kitchen counter. The pastry is buttery and the light rosemary flavour comes through in a surprisingly enjoyable way.
A few minor niggles (the Josper Grill in the open kitchen has a mighty loud slam on it and I’d love a linen napkin as opposed to a paper one) didn’t spoil what was a thoroughly good meal at Palatino. Service was solid too – like the restaurant had been there ages. And Iâ€™m sure it will be.
Would we go back? Yes.
We dined as guests of the restaurant