Pastaio, Soho: restaurant review
At Stevie Parle's first Soho joint, tuck into lip-smacking drinks and endless plates of hand-made pasta, served at long communal benches
What's the draw
Stevie Parle is a man on a mission. The chef behind Queens Park's celebrated Dock Kitchen, North Greenwich's CRAFT London, Dalston's Rotorino and Clerkenwell's Palatino finally has his first central-London outpost, which takes the latter two's Italian obsession to new heights, cooking up hand-made semolina pasta with seasonal, British-inflected sauces.
What to drink
Like the food, Pastaio's drinks list is short, sweet and straightforward. Aperitivo cocktails (negroni, americano, rosato and an eponymous drink made with passion fruit, sloe gin and Aperol) make up the mixed-drinks offering, while five reds and five whites (all Italian) are labeled by their flavour notes, with three available by the glass. Oh, and expect the refreshingly astringent prosecco slushie to make a regular appearance on your Instagram feed, too.
What to eat
Come hungry, because pasta here – with its mouthwatering firmness between the teeth and straightforward but lively sauces – is moreish, and inexpensive. A rigatoni with slow-cooked tomatoes, marjoram and a dusting of pecorino, is a snip at £6, while the grouse, rabbit and pork agnoli lives and dies by, simply, the texture of the pasta and the punch of the herbed meat within it. Throughout Pastaio's menu, simplicity is a strong suit – rich, pungent roasted red peppers are served with a fillet of anchovy and semi-dried tomato, purple chicory is enlivened by sweet bursts of pomegranate seeds and more of that nutty pecorino, and the killer main is just as it sounds: ravioli filled with potato, with gravy and egg yolk, a simple dish whose constituent parts all elevate the whole.
Starters from £3; pasta from £6; wine from £4 by the glass. 19 Ganton Street, W1F 7BN; pastaio.london