Pasta is one of the most comforting foods. A bad bowlful is very sad, but there are a few brilliant places in London. Here are my five favourite places:
Trullo – This is one of my top Italian restaurants in London, up in Highbury & Islington (nearly next to the lovely Le Coq, and a few minutes from Prawn on the Lawn). Along with their charcoal grill, the pasta is brilliant on their simple and seasonal menu – have the beef shin ragu if it’s on the menu.
|Spaghetti al Cartoccio at Ciao Bella|
Ciao Bella – A traditional and always packed local, tucked down Lamb’s Conduit Street (one of the nicest shopping roads in London if you have never been). If you like seafood, the best pasta dish is the Spaghetti al Cartoccio (essentially spaghetii in a grease-proof paper bag). They artfully tip it out at the table, with plenty of prawns, mussels and squid with the al dente spaghetti, and either a white wine or tomato sauce (both very good).
Burro e Salvia – The shop on Redchurch Street has beautiful silky fresh pastas (including little golden ravioli) and sauces to cook at home, but you can also sit in for bowl. They do courses too, if you fancy a few hours to perfect your technique.
Café Murano – This place from Angela Hartnett is a more relaxed (and cheaper) sister of her fancy Murano (still very chic). The Northern Italian menu changes daily, with delicious pasta, gnocchi and risotto (including a sunny saffron-rich risotto Milanese with sticky Osso Buco last time I visited).
|Pistachio Casarecce at Rotorino|
Rotorino – The most recent addition of the list, the just opened restaurant on Kingsland Road has interesting bowls (small and large size), including a fresh, nutty pistachio casarecce at the moment. Worth a mention for the blue and white paint spattered enamel bowl alone.