Who doesn’t like pasta? For me, pasta has always been that delicious comfort food. I try not to eat it often (#carbs) but nothing beats a good bowl of pasta – as comfort food, with friends and family, or when it’s cold and miserable outside! I’ve recently joined Kassandra in making pasta myself, which is easier than you think it would be, though it does require a fair bit of time and you need the proper equipment. So if you don’t feel like slaving away in the kitchen, I’d suggest you try out Pasta Nostra.
Kassandra and I joined them for a beautiful lunch not too long ago – and were absolutely salivating at the thought since we’d stalked their Instagram page before and everything looked so good. The Spaghetti alla Chitarra Surf Clams was definitely the picture-winner (I mean, just look at it – picture above!!!) but we had to pace ourselves. Starters first.
Let’s Get The (Pasta) Party Started
Armed with a glass of Prosecco each, we browsed the menu. It’s not a big menu at all but for some reason we had a pretty tough time deciding what to eat. Kassandra is also lactose-intolerant, which definitely plays into every foodie-making decision. But eventually we decided to share a few starters. And by share I mean that I had some dairy-rich options and ate some of Kassandra’s starters too. Oops. So she had ordered the House Focaccia (£3), which was divine, and the Bollito with Braised Beef Shoulder, Salsa Verde, and Pickled Red Onion (£8). This dish was incredibly meaty – even for a meat-lover like me – but I did still enjoy it.
Then I also had the Crispy Prawn with Parmesan Foam (£3), which is tiny since you’re literally only getting one prawn. But it’s super delicious and makes for a great appetiser if you only want something small. Then, last but most certainly not least, I had the Burrata, served with Celeriac and Toasted Hazelnut (£6). You can never go wrong with a good burrata, and having some of the cheese with the focaccia was a match made in heaven.
Pasta. Pasta. Pasta.
And then it was time for the main act. Pasta. Pasta. Pasta. Pasta Nostra makes their pasta fresh on site – you can watch them work the magic in the open kitchen on the ground floor. I spent some time watching pasta being made, and, I must say, it’s rather therapeutic. There’s something about the perfect attention to detail but also the wonderful pace at which the pasta is made (watch the short video above). If I tried to make pasta in all the shapes and sizes they do, it would certainly take me hours. And much of it would end up a little wonky.
So, pasta. Kassandra ended up choosing the Gnocchi, served with slow-cooked puttanesca, olives, and capers (£7). She absolutely loved it. I liked it, but it wasn’t the best gnocchi I have ever had. That said, I’m also a little biased as a few years ago I had gnocchi somewhere and it has literally spoiled my taste for gnocchi anywhere else. Sadly I can’t remember where it was and I’ll forever be sad about it. But I like my gnocchi super creamy and buttery- which isn’t the usual – and may perhaps be sacrilege for all purist gnocchi lovers. The last time I had gnocchi it was drenched in truffle oil, which was also a winner for me … But I digress. Pasta Nostra. Gnocchi. Good. Try it.
I had – you guessed it – the Spaghetti alla Chitarra Surf Clams with Friarielli and Pangratato (£13). Instagram ruined me. It was the prettiest dish. I had to have it. And boy am I glad I did. Not only does it look as pretty in real life as it does on Instagram, but it’s also super yummy! And don’t be fooled, it may look like there’s only two clams on the dish, but the whole centre of that gorgeous – what do I call it? Pasta roll? – is stuffed with clams.
The BEST Dessert
Satiated with pasta happiness, there was only dessert to go. Pasta Nostra didn’t have any dairy-free desserts for Kassandra, so she ended up going for the vegan hot chocolate with a shot of digestivo. But I had to have two desserts. I know, I know, naughty. But, Pasta Nostra had both Sicilian Cannolo (£4) and Tiramisu (£5) on their menu. And I’m forever searching for cannoli and tiramisu that lives up to my expectations.
See, years ago, much like with the gnocchi, I had an amazing cannolo and an amazing tiramisu, and every time I’ve had these treats since, they’ve been mediocre. But at long last, I can say that I found a spot that lives up to my dreams. The cannolo was delicious – sweet ricotta, chocolate, pistachio – and perfectly filling. But the real trooper was the tiramisu, which was, without doubt, the best tiramisu I have ever had. It even surpassed my expectations, and I’ll forever be grateful for the delicious experience. It also comes served in a cute little cup, which I love.
Visit Pasta Nostra
I was thoroughly satisfied at the end of this Pasta Nostra experience. I may or may not even be drooling a little right now thinking about it. But lady-like drooling, of course. Go try their clam spaghetti, drown in the gorgeousness of that tiramisu, and have the best time ever!!!
Address: 122 Old Street, EC1V 9BD, London
Article Date: December 2019
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