In the heart of Clerkenwell is the fifth venture from Stevie Parle. Roman inspired and packing in over eighteen savoury dishes across antipasti, primi, secondi plus the most indulgent of contorni (sides), and that’s before you even make it to dessert, which I didn’t!
Anywhere that greets you with a pizza bianco or fresh rosemary focaccia with a generous potato layer is a place that I’m more than like to entirely love. The vast, industrial, open plan hundred plus seater restaurant has a combination of booths, bar seating and two long tables that accommodate at least twenty encouraging group or shared social style dining.
We start the meal with salt cod crudo and blood orange, which works as the perfect juxtaposition, both laden with 2016 Cappezana olive oil. Quality of produce comes high on the priority list here with this dish balancing both salty, sweet, sharp and earthy flavours. Totally delicious and we could of ordered a second plate easily.
We also order antipasti of tempura sage leaves with honey and vinegar, an inspired combination that perfectly whets our appetite enough for us to enormously over order on primi and secondi.
Gnocchi alla Romana, brown butter and sage; three generous lumps of smooth, rich and buttery potato alongside the Bombolotti. Ragu ‘Marcella’ arrives next, a light ragu with plenty of garlic and Parmesan which has me more than interested. I also under duress order a portion of the chicken, pancetta and pistachio meatballs with the creamiest polenta. Despite our complete over ordering of carbs we are easily convinced by the waitress to try a side of crispy fried gnocchi with Parmesan, garlic, rosemary and chilli…on top of everything else. We excitedly scoff mouthful after mouthful of each dish sharing everything to make sure we get several visits to each plate. There’s without doubt enough for an entire other meal so we happily have the rest packed up for seconds later.
This is a great addition to an already extremely successful string of restaurants. Anyone with such a passion and vision for Italian cuisine has my attention and everybody else’s it would seem!