Italian restaurants often do pretty much nothing to dispel the stereotypes of their own menus: all pasta, focaccia, mozzarella and Parma ham. There are pros and cons to this; Italian food is delicious by nature so it’s hard to mess it up, but it’s also unlikely to blow your tastebuds’ socks off. This cute little café-bar on a King’s Cross backstreet is a good example of this Italo-limbo.
It’s a lovely place to linger over a light lunch and a good coffee thanks to its handful of pavement tables exceptionally friendly owner. Their traditional Roman carbonara comes with beautifully fresh pasta and meaty guanciale, but little flavour to coat them. From Wednesday to Saturday evenings you can stop for aperitivo, sipping an exemplary Aperol spritz as they bring a selection of snacks to the table. You can’t go wrong with pistachios, bresaola, taleggio and the like but the dinky bite-size sandwiches had been on the counter too long, and crispy squid needed seasoning. And aioli.
Despite the hit-and-miss menu, it’s easy to get fond of this place. Prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is more cosy than a hug from Pavarotti. Because when it comes to Italian food, let’s face it, their mid-range is always far more desirable than ours.