Set on the strip of no man’s land between Old Street roundabout and the start of Clerkenwell, is Pasta Nostra, London’s latest pasta specialist. It spans two floors and the look is the same throughout: chunky wooden tables, crushed-velvet seating, millennial-pink walls and leafy pot plants in every corner. But while the decor comes straight from Made.com, the menu is strictly Italian, with a changing selection of aperitivi (Italian bar snacks, if you will), antipasti, and fresh hand-cut pasta.
Cooking was mixed. You can’t go wrong with the wild boar pappardelle, which arrived as a generous mound of springy dough ribbons tossed in a rich, meaty, red wine-laced ragù. Even better was a bowl of bottle-cap-shaped pasta pillows (known as tappi) stuffed with creamy burrata, swimming in a sweet mussel-and-tomato sauce. You can keep that coming, guys.
Sadly, you couldn’t say the same for the garganelli (small, rolled, penne-like shapes) with wild mushrooms. The pasta was overcooked and sticky, and came topped with a claggy fungi pulp rather than the slithers of silky mushroom you’d hope for. Cacio e pepe arancini were equally disappointing. While perfectly crunchy on the outside, inside they were dry and bland.
This inconsistency in the kitchen is a pity, as Pasta Nostra has real potential. As one of the freshest faces on London’s current pasta scene, it still has time to iron out the rookie errors. Let’s hope it does, and soon.