Simon Wittenberg heads to the bustling thoroughfare in London’s Soho to enjoy dinner at the recently-opened Italian restaurant, 64 Old Compton Street, on a warm summer’s evening.
Owned by restaurateur Nima Safei, 64 Old Compton Street opened its doors in July, and is the sister restaurant to 40 Dean Street, situated around the corner, which has been serving guests in the area for nearly two decades.
The arrival of the latest Italian restaurant in Soho follows an extensive five-month renovation of the narrow premises, which previously hosted the vegan Clean Kitchen Club until it vacated this location.
With a full red frontage and a gold and black logo on the exterior, guests are greeted inside with a fairly traditional décor with suspended round lamps hanging from the ceiling.
The wooden tables have also been crafted and tailor-made to work with what is a relatively cosy and intimate space with a bar at the far end. Blue tones – synonymous with the national colour of Italy, grace both the walls, which are lined with an array of colourful floral artworks and mirrors, and the long banquette that runs down the side of the restaurant.
With just 11 tables, and a capacity of around 30 people when full, one half has been reserved for those who have booked in advance, whilst the other has been allocated to “walk-ins” off the lively Soho street. In fact, 64 Old Compton Street also welcomes friendly pooches, and one was, in fact, spotted during our visit and ended up gracing one of the chairs sitting at the tables on the pavement for those who wish to dine al fresco.
The menu is not that extensive but nevertheless has the regular staples that you would expect from a good Italian, such as pizza, pasta, seafood, and meat; plus, there’s a decent selection of alcoholic beverages, spanning cocktails to different varieties of wine.
To accompany our meal, we chose an elegantly presented and beautifully concocted Coconut and Pineapple Cooler (an interpretation of a Piña Colada) – £12, and a dram of Four Roses bourbon whiskey on ice (£6.50).
With the kitchen located on the lower ground floor, this means the team at this eatery put in the steps over the course of an evening to serve the different gastronomic delights.
From the “Cold, Fritti & Baked” section of the à la carte (also known as the starters), which offers dishes spanning a portion of olives, to aubergine parmigiana and fried squid, I headed for the sumptuously creamy Burrata (£12), which arrived on a bed of rocket salad and large tomato slices, coupled with balsamic drizzle and a pesto garnish.
With a basket of fresh white bread and focaccia to also tempt the palate, this was a relatively filling entrée. My guest opted for a portion of lightly fried wild mushroom, truffle, and smoked mozzarella arancini balls (£13), which also hit the mark.
After a short break to appreciate the surroundings, and the restaurant nearly full by around 19:15, our mains arrived, which took the form of al dente ravioli parcels filled with spinach, ricotta and truffle (£19.90), sitting in a rich buttery sauce, and thinly sliced pieces of parmesan cheese. Plus, with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan, this was an excellent main and one that I would readily have again.
The spaghetti with baby clams and a white wine sauce, and small pieces of chilli for a slight kick, also proved a success, with another satisfied customer. Other options available at this stage of the meal are, namely, tiger prawns, risotto, and lasagne, amongst other tempting dishes, and there is a small selection of sides, each costing £5.
When it comes to dessert, there is an adequate selection of sweet and savoury bites, with six dishes on the menu, which take in a cheese board with biscuits. I sampled the warm chocolate fondant topped with pistachio ice cream and chocolate sauce (£6.50), which was heavenly, with my dining partner completing his meal with a delicious tiramisu (£6.50) decorated with a light dusting of crushed pistachio nuts, giving this dish an added edge.
With 64 Old Compton Street, Nima Safei has created another eatery in his growing portfolio that’s destined for success, as it has all the right ingredients to create a memorable visit for the right reasons.
It’s a traditional and inviting setting with tasty and reasonably priced food, coupled with friendly and efficient service. Soho has been gifted another gastronomic destination, which will only become more popular as time goes on.
64 Old Compton Street – Where and How?
For more information or to make a reservation, visit www.64oldcomptonstreet.com.
You can watch a video and see more pictures of what we had to eat at 64 Old Compton Street on the Luxurious Magazine Instagram page.
Photo credits: 64 Old Compton Street / Simon Wittenberg.
Read more restaurant reviews and culinary features here.