If the Noughties were the decade that carbs forgot, they are most certainly back on the menu at a flurry of restaurants dedicated to homemade pasta. Soon to join the fusilli fest comes Pastaio, the new Soho venture from Stevie Parle, the chef whose restaurants include Dock Kitchen, Craft London and Sardine.
An alumnus of The River Café, where he learnt the art of true pasta-making under the direction of Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray, Parle says, “I’ve been obsessed with making fresh pasta since I first learned to cook. The kneading, resting, shaping, rolling, stuffing and drying is a skill that takes time and dedication, and in the last few years at Rotorino and Palatino we’ve managed to make fresh pasta consistently and fast – so I’m super-excited to bring handmade pasta to Soho.” Indeed, the translation of pastaio from Italian means someone who makes pasta.
The menu will include such delights as tonarelli cacio e pepe; potato and gravy ravioli; cassarecce, pesto, green beans and potato; grouse, rabbit and pork agnoli; and long fusilli, crab, courgette, yellow tomato and marjoram. Additionally, there will be a selection of smaller antipasti dishes (all priced between £7 to £11) to graze on, including what has to be one of the most decadent snacks in Soho, the fried mozzarella sandwich. Aperitivo hour will see Aperol spritz slushies and Prosecco slushies.
The restaurant has been designed by Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio, a space Parle describes as “contemporary, vibe-y and fun”. Three long terrazzo tables will take centre space for shared dining, though individual tables are available too. Taking the pasta theme – literally – to the wall, a large mural has been designed by graphic designer Rob Lowe, aka Supermundane, whose signature geometric images depict rigatoni, ravioli and spaghetti.
Sixty years after Richard Dimbleby’s 1957 spoof documentary about the spaghetti harvest in Switzerland, pasta really does seem to be growing on trees in today’s London.