Passo

Restaurants, Italian Old Street
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(3user reviews)
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An upmarket Italian on Old Street roundabout.

Smack-bang on Old Street roundabout is Passo, a spacious and super-sleek Italian joint offering pasta, pizza and cocktails, plus an appealing breakfast menu for early risers.

The vibe here isn’t especially Italian: sand-coloured wood, peach lighting and natural rattan rugs make it feel more like a classy beachside restaurant in the Balearics. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with that.

The food shows more signs of Italian heritage. An antipasto of tender meatballs made from beef and mortadella (a large Italian sausage) basking in a sweet, sumptuous tomato sauce bulged with peppery flavours. More of that, please! An on-trend burrata, here served with basil oil and fresh mint, was sadly sold out on the night I visited. A plate of tagliatelle sloshed in truffle oil was damn truffley and a flavoursome hit, but the pasta was overcooked and clumpy. A spicy sausage and friarielli (a long, green, broccoli-like stem) pizza was rather ordinary too. The dough, cooked in the on-site clay oven, was well seasoned, but the flavours on top were underwhelming. Mozzarella was sparse and the tomato was lacklustre. Where, oh where had that heavenly sauce from the meatballs got to?

Thankfully, deep-fried ricotta parcels with Nutella dipping sauce to finish were fun (I mean, obvs – there was Nutella!), while the house chocolate cake, pimped up with a scoop of spicy cinnamon ice cream, was pillowy light.

By: Elizabeth Darke

Posted:

Venue name: Passo
Contact:
Address: 80 City Road
Old Street
London
EC1Y 2BJ
Transport: Tube: Old Street
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £90.
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Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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Tastemaker

Nancy Silverton is a California native, a chef, a baker, an author and a total pizza legend. I have a teeny, tiny, giant, supersized girl crush on this funky, talented, smart, warm woman which began with her ‘Chef’s Table’ episode on Netflix and was firmly cemented after lunch last Friday at her one-week pop-up at Passo, one of London’s loveliest Italian restaurants just off the Old St roundabout.


Beautifully shaded in a palette of nudes, this is a vast dining room that’s made to feel delightfully intimate thanks to the cosy bar, the mix of table sizes, the honeyed caramel décor accents and the warm daylight that streams in through floor to ceiling windows at the back. Staff are friendly & welcoming, happy to chat and eager to ensure your time there is a good one and there’s a lively buzz through the space.


Silverton, dough expert & all round exceptional culinary talent, was visible during our lunch on the last day of a residency that saw 900+ covers make their way through the restaurant in a week and her touch was apparent in every dish that emerged from the open plan kitchen.


A chopped salad was full of unexpected flavours & textures – dainty slices of creamy, nutty cheese which paired beautifully with strips of salty cured meat and fat chickpeas rolling around most contentedly in fragrant rosemary – but it was the pizza we were here for, pizza that may well have muscled its way to being the best I’ve ever had in my life.


Crusts were impeccably dotted with puffy, charred-edged & burst-wide bubbles of the lightest, crispiest base – these were not crusts to be nibbled around, tucked surreptitiously into used napkins or dunked into plastic tubs of ranch, these were crusts to be eaten slowly, to be savoured alongside sloshing glasses of ruby red Montepulciano, which was fruity, juicy & light enough to wholeheartedly support lazy lunchtime drinking.


Fontina, mozzarella, sottocenere al tartufo and sage made for an ideal vegetarian menu pick; luxurious, silky & slick with golden puddles of oil, this was a reverie of cheese heavy enough to weigh down the thinnest of crusts but light enough to devour without hesitation. A fennel sausage option was punchy with defiant, fist-pumping aniseed flavour before being soothed with creamy panna, mozzarella and sweet onions of both the red & spring variety. Savoury & moreish, this is how pizza should be.


Our delightfully amiable waiter smartly clocked us as the kind of gals who are likely to be seduced by the words ‘Would you like dessert? There’s only one and it’s only here for this week…’ and for that I can only say ‘bravo, sir, bravo’ for indeed, we are those gals and we do want dessert and when it’s olive oil cake with olive oil ice-cream, salt & rosemary brittle, we want it all the more. A killer crust on the exterior hid a crazy light & fluffy centre and that rosemary-salt-olive oil grouping, the Grace Kelly of dessert flavour combinations, was flawless.


I can’t vouch for the normal menu here at Passo, all I can do is hazard a guess that any restaurant choosing to work with someone of the class of Ms. Nancy can only be the sort of place that’s smart & visionary enough to make me go back again, hopefully for more of the same.

Tastemaker

This is one of the newer places that have popped up on Old Street (the competition on Old Street is intense now!) and my colleagues and I were eager to try. The ambience is great and when you walk in you really feel like you are in a fairly casual but fancy place. It is not pretentious which is a plus for London, although the seats are THE MOST UNCOMFORTABLE I have ever experienced in London (I sat on the individual chairs, not the bench which might have been more comfortable). I half suspect the seats are designed as such so you don't linger around too long. Food is above average, and prices are reasonable. The service is top notch. Overall a decent experience and somewhere I might pop in for a quick pasta (so that I don't have to endure the torture of the chair) if I am in the area (like having drinks at Night Jar).

tastemaker

As soon as we walked in we were welcomed with the most inviting staff imagined and seated very quickly. Appreciate this place has only been open for a less than a month before I stepped foot so they are striving to make their mark in the prime part of East London. Really close to Old street station and super easy to get to if you are worried about the cold nights. The staff told us the theme is LA meets East London, and I can sort of see that with the Timber, copper, and concrete interiors which were very beautiful.

Now the important stuff what did we think about the food… The menu was a nice and simple one, which is always a tick in my head. You can never get everything right if you have too much going on in the menu and choices.

What we had:

Passo Bread: was really flat and dry, I had to soak in olive oil before I could really appreciate.

Burrata, Zucchini Chips: Burrata was really great choice, but I was very unsure about the zucchini chips this seemed be smothered in balsamic vinegar and this I felt was too stronger a flavor to start the meal off with.

Truffle Tagliatelle And the Trofie, Pasta with Watercress & Pesto. I have to say I really enjoyed both. Perhaps this was due to how fresh the pasta really tasted but most definitely worth trying. Not the biggest fan of the starters however.