Pasta is one of life’s great gifts. And really great pasta is the stuff of dreams, but can be hard to find in a world of instant food. Pastaio on Ganton Street in Soho is bringing pasta back, and in a big way. The minimal, scaled back restaurant is crisp and clean, with owner Stevie Parle teaming up with British designer Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studios to create a colourful and contemporary open space. Pastaio has three big share tables, some two top tables, an outside space and an open kitchen.
The simple elegance of the restaurant is reflected in the menu. Every dish made with care and fresh British produce.
The creamy burrata, Pastaio olive oil, chilli and oregano is a must, alongside the Sardinian crispbread. And the clams and mussels cooked in butter and white wine with sourdough bread are cooked to perfection.
When it comes to the pasta, we could have eaten everything on the menu. All pasta is made on site. Short and long pasta is extruded through bronze using a blend of organic Italian semolina and ancient British grains. And the stuffed pasta is made by hand from the best ’00’ flour and eggs from Rodley Court in Kent. Gluten free pasta is also available.
The wild mushroom, garlic and olive oil tagliatelle is surprisingly light and perfect for summer with a lemony twist on a classic. And the wild boar, rabbit and pork agnoli is a meaty dream, packed with filling and flavour. With eight dishes on the menu, everyone is well catered for. There four veggie options and four meat and seafood options. The langoustine, prawn, mussel and clam paccheri is fresh and delicious, and the crab, chilli and rocket black and white spaghetti brings a taste of the seaside to the streets of London.
After a fill of pasta, the lemon custard cream tart with strawberries and pistachios is a perfect dessert, or try the pistachio ice cream if you’re not feeling too tarty. The tiramisu is also delicious and well worth a try.
And what goes better with pasta and a hot summer’s evening than a cocktail? Pastaio have a few of the elite on offer. The Aperol Spritz is one of the best we’ve had (no scrimping on the Aperol) and the prosecco slushy is perfect for the sun. There is also a great range of red and white wines, as well as a selection of digestivos.
If we weren’t already happy in our pasta comas, one of the most refreshing things about this place is the staff. Things can get stressful when restaurants don’t take bookings, and we all know people don’t like waiting, especially in this city. But the host and our waiter were so friendly and full of fun chat as soon as we arrived. They were there as soon as we needed anything and service was fast and flawless. We came for the pasta, but we stayed for the service…and some more pasta. Get down to Pastaio and take advantage of the outside seating while the sun is still out!