The arrival of 500 (Cinquecento) in 2008 marked a miracle for what even the most charitable would describe as the scrappier end of the Holloway Road. The stylish bare-table decor combined with a chef from the Jamie Oliver stable ensured a waiting list of weeks. Our most recent visit yielded hits and a couple of near misses. The Tagliere 500 starter (to share) was a stunning cornucopia of textures and tastes – including crabmeat, delicately crunchy, deep-fried ravioli with mint, and melt-in-the-mouth mozzarella – while a main course of fresh ravioli with ricotta and nettles sang all the right notes. Scallops on broccoli purée were plump and tasty, but the purée itself wasn’t concentrated enough to satisfy. And the restaurant’s much-praised baked rabbit in marsala wine sauce was tender and moist – and slightly too salty. There remains much to justify the excitement that endures around this culinary oasis in N19. Next to the traditional tiramisu and gelati, poached rhubarb with a scoop of apple sorbet made a fine end to the meal (even if the sorbet was a little more frozen than anticipated). Service was brisk and friendly throughout.
Venue says: “Come and try our 'tagliere 500', a large board with a little of all of our cold starters from the main menu. Big enough for two people!”