Along bustling Columbia Road there are plenty of cafés – each set at varying levels of twee-ness – whose sole aim is to satisfy the crowds that flock here for the flora on Sundays. Every so often, a place will open that appears to be conjured from a food lover’s dreams.
Campania Gastronomia, opened by Benito Montorio and Emma Lantosca, who hail from southern Italy, is one of the best-looking places in an area already overrun by rustic charm. Legs of ham hang from the ceilings, while a table heaves with all manner of delicious antipasti – marinated aubergine, anchovies, pickled mushrooms and sacks of freshly-baked ciabatta– as well as ownmade tarts and biscuits. A communal table and benches takes up half of the shop, while a smattering of tiny tables are hidden at the back. All very stylish.
Surprisingly, for such a small place, it was impossible to get served. Having missed brunch (glorious plates piled with prosciutto, Neapolitan sausages or pancetta, with two poached eggs and ciabatta ; only served until 12.30pm, which they don’t tell you anywhere), we decided on two large antipasti boards, then waited for our orders to be taken. Despite catching the eye of someone who looked to be the manager, we still waited in excess of 15 minutes, trying in vain to get someone – anyone – to give us the time of day. Service is sloppy – it took one biscuit three quarters of an hour to travel from the food counter behind our neighbours' heads to a plate in front of them.
Of our three cappuccinos, one arrived stone cold; all were poorly made by Italian standards with spotty, dissipating foam. There was nothing to complain about the two excellent antipasti boards, however, with generous servings of top-notch mortadella, prosciutto Tosacano, Neapolitan salami, capocollo and speck and delicious bread to mop up the garlic olive oil – but the promised olives were nowhere to be seen. After a further ten minutes of trying to catch our waitress’s attention, and a further ten after, they were finally brought with an apology.
We are in no doubt that the food is a decent enough draw. The Campanian chef whips up a good repertoire of hearty pastas (bold and meaty) that would be perfect with a glass of southern Italian red, of which there are many to choose from on the wine list. Just be prepared to come with plenty of patience.
|Venue name:||Campania Gastronomia||Contact:|
95 Columbia Road
|Opening hours:||Meals served 11am-7pm Tue-Sat, 9.30am-7pm Sun|
|Transport:||Tube: Old Street tube or bus 149|
|Price:||Meal for two with wine and service: around £50|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
4 / 5
- 5 star:6
- 4 star:1
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:2
Had a delicious pea and spicy sausage risotto here, with the charcuterie plate to start. Everything was properly Italian and fresh and delicious in little bites. We sat on a little wonky table outside in the sun. Ordered Aperol spritz in hope - and it turns out that they do serve them. And as we left, I saw one slice of a delicious looking chocolate tart/pie inside and deliberated over asking for it. They very kindly gave it to us for free. Definitely a place where you're left to dine on your own devices which is refreshing - and ask for off menu items!
Such extreme experiences in the comments section. I have been here a number of times and it's always great. Always busy. Note to snap-to-it patrons - If you happen to be of that persuasion please go elsewhere. Yesterday (Sunday) I happened to be with my 10 year old niece and it was - as always - a lovely experience. The interior is beautifully rustic. I pointed out the various objects to my niece as I want her to learn to appreciate these things. We shared an almost perfect pasta and a delicious Tiramisu. Final comment from her "Can we come here again?" I agree. The idea of not going again is inconceivable.
I think it's one of the best places in the area, the food is genuinely Italian and the service, well, if you go on busy Sundays I can understand that, but I never experience that there, I find the staff very friendly. After all, this is not a fast food! Enjoy the whole Italian experience, even the waiting...in Italy to wait means only one thing: they are actually cooking your food not re-heating it!
We had a horrible experience at this place. It’s simply unbelievable how rude and unprofessional is the staff of Campania. The three of us arrived at the place on a Sunday afternoon (approximately 4.30pm). Toolate for the luch (we already had one), too early for the dinner, this is why lots of seats were available. We decided to share a platter of charcuterie and cheese for two (12.50£) and some bread (1.50£), with the intention to eat something and then have some coffee later. The girl took the order, but 2 minutes later she came back and claimed that, although this usually happens only on Sunday, when the place is packed, what we ordered was not enough to deserve 3 seats in Campania. We needed to order a full lunch. We just woke up and had a snack elsewhere, but I don’t think we’ll come back there again.
Gosh I'm shocked by Ed's somewhat strange review, seems a bit of a shady review. The waitresses are all italian and know their stuff, they are helpful as well as run off their feet and there's none of the usual spiel you get from places with robotic staff that have been briefed with their speaches.. The coffee is and always has been my favourite, good quantity of coffee over milk which is something many businesses get drastically wrong. I've had many a great brunch and lunch at this place as it's close to my studio. I've taken clients and been for birthday bashes with friends and have never experienced anything as revolting as the previous reviewer. Service can be slow but it's a small bustly place that gets so busy it's a wonder they manage at all. Try the pasta with fresh seafood!!
Campania looks gorgeous, all battered wood, bare brick and tables groaning with good-looking food, but sadly it's a case of style over substance. Arguably the worst coffee any of the three of us had ever had: insipid, with no crema and flat, came after several unsuccessful attempts to get anyone's attention. The forgetful waitress was apologetic, but it's difficult to be patient when the results are then so average. A request after half an hour waiting to be served was unintentionally brilliant: "What can you tell me about the Neapolitan sausage?," asked my visiting Canadian friend. "That's sausage. From Naples," replied the waitress unironically. The brunch - sausage etc, as per the review - arrived three quarters of an hour later, and was, in fairness, decent, although nothing extraordinary: slightly bland and greasy. We opted for dessert: raspberry tart, our crowning mistake. My girlfriend descends it as sweet pink mash potato on pastry: almost inedible and with not a fruit trace to be seen or tasted. We weren't the only ones with reservations about the mysterious fruit tart: the couple next to us left their dessert half eaten too. Verdict? A lackluster, pricey disappointment.