Olive Magazine
A marble table with lots of places of pasta on top

Pastaio, London: restaurant review

Published: November 22, 2017 at 10:34 am
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Seasonal ingredients, handmade pasta and great-value wines make Stevie Parle's Pastaio a must visit

Read our expert review of Pastaio, a buzzy new Soho restaurant that's all about handmade pasta.


Pastaio in a nutshell

Chef Stevie Parle’s latest venture brings handmade pasta and affordable wines to Soho.

Pastaio restaurant review

Pasta is having a moment in London. From Padella in Borough Market to Emilia’s Crafted Pasta in St Katherine Docks and Burro e Salvia in Shoreditch, the last few years has seen a crop of new openings that specialise in freshly made plates of the stuff – carb loading has never been so cool.

The latest addition to the pasta gang – and the newest outpost of ex-River Café chef Stevie Parle’s burgeoning restaurant empire, which also includes Rotorino, Palatino, Sardine, Dock Kitchen and Craft London – can be found in Soho.

Pastaio (meaning someone who makes pasta by hand) follows in the Italian-centric footsteps of Palatino and Rotorino but focusses chiefly on pasta, made fresh every day in the restaurant, a cavernous Tom Dixon-designed space on Ganton Street that’s all high ceilings and exposed fittings, with a huge, colourful mural (by Rob Lowe of Supermundane) that saves the room from feeling coldly industrial.

Tables next to a wall with a colourful mural
Pastaio's colourful wall mural

The menu is concise and seasonal, from tagliatelle with wild mushrooms, garlic and olive oil to cacio e pepe with bucatini and fusilli with crab, courgette, tomato and marjoram. It’s also affordably priced; you can order a pasta dish for as little as £6 (rigatoni with slow-cooked tomato sauce) and no main exceeds £11.

We started with a salad of Castelfranco (a type of radicchio lettuce), pecorino and pomegranate seeds; the salty cheese balancing well with the bitter leaf and sweet-sour fruit, while nutty Coombeshead Farm sourdough came with a peppery, grassy olive oil. A fried mozzarella sandwich reminded us of mozzarella en carrozza – a southern Italian take on a cheese toastie. In Pastaio’s version, spicy ’nduja and honey added pleasing notes of heat and sweetness to the milky cheese.

A selection of small dishes of food on a table
Antipasti at Pastaio

From the pasta section, malloreddus (tiny, ridged Sardinian gnocchi) came dressed with a slow-cooked sausage sauce that was elegantly light and flavourful, while agnoli stuffed with grouse, pork and rabbit was a deceptively simple dish that made good use of prime autumn produce.

Desserts were simple and classic; we tried canoli with orange, ricotta and saffron, and a lovely chocolate and cherry tart, the almost sour fruit pairing well with a tangy pool of yogurt on the side.

The drinks offering at Pastaio is short and affordable, ranging from prosecco and Aperol slushies to wines from lesser-known Italian growers, many priced by the glass. We tried a velvety, smoky refosco – a spot-on recommendation from our friendly, knowledgeable waiter.

Menu must-order at Pastaio

The agnoli was a triumph of pared-back cooking; perfectly cooked and crafted pasta, a generous game filling and a seriously moreish sage-butter sauce.

Misfire: Skip the canoli, which on our visit had a heavy, almost artificial-tasting orange flavour that overwhelmed everything else on the plate.

Price range: Good value. Antipasti start at £3, mains at £6 and desserts at £4.


Photographs by Joe Woodhouse


Written by Hannah Guinness

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