For an Italian caffè in London to be filled with the chatty hum of the Italian language is always a good start. Sardo Cucina is the new offshoot (literally – it’s next door) of the acclaimed Sardo restaurant near Warren Street tube.
This new venture is a more informal affair than either Sardo or the even smarter Primrose Hill branch, Sardo Canale. Instead of tablecloths, Cucina has bare rustic tables.
It is a quick coffee and a bite place rather than somewhere you’d linger over a meal. Order from the short list of daily changing specials on display behind the counter and take your tray to find a seat.
Breakfast dishes lean towards baked goods such as krafen (doughnuts filled with custard or chocolate) or apple cake topped with pine nuts.
Coffees (Miscela D’oro) and Novus teas or freshly-squeezed orange juice are among the drinks, but there are no bottled Italian bitters.
All the breads are own-made and though they couldn’t give us a name for it, our favourite was a milky bun with orange peel and just a touch of sweetness.
That slight sweetness pervades the other breads – from calzone to slices of margherita pizza – which are made deep and pillowy instead of crisp and thin.
A daily soup – minestrone on our visit – was thick and chunky, somewhat unusually containing sweetcorn and served with croûtons. Two pastas were also robust and chewy – as the trofie and Sardinian malloreddus are designed to be.
Chafing dishes (steel containers which keep food warm) held burgers topped with spinach and mozzarella, while lasagne with prawns was in the cooled display.
Everything was reheated for service in a microwave, including the breads – which didn’t complement their delicacy.
Nevertheless, this is a good option if you’re in the neighbourhood, and want a quick dose of Sardinian food and hospitality.