Best for…laid-back luxe: Palatino
The recently-opened, Roman-inspired Palatino is chef Stevie Parle’s latest venture. The restaurant is home to one of London’s most talked about pasta dishes (more on this later) and has received rave reviews from food critics. It’s an ideal dinner spot if you’re looking for somewhere edgy with food that’ll make an impression.
Palatino takes inspiration from its trendy Clerkenwell neighbourhood with exposed pipework, bare tables, vibrant yellow banquettes and a bustling open-air kitchen. The dining area is relaxed and easy-going but the service is five-star. The waiting staff are confident in the food so thankfully, you won’t be interrupted every five minutes to report back on how it’s going
Menu highlights include anchovy toasts; perfectly chewy, pillowy chunks of bread slathered with stracciatella and tangy anchovies. The famous ‘Tonarelli cacio e pepe’ we spoke about earlier is a fresh pasta dish of just two ingredients; pecorino cheese and hand-harvested peppercorns. It’s simply divine and has been drawing in crowds since it was first discovered by London’s foodies. Homemade gelato is a must for dessert. Oh and the tiramisu, with lashings of light cream and coffee-soaked sponge that ooze together into the most wonderful mouthful.
The Italian wine list offers wine by the glass, carafe or bottle, ranging from modest to truly spectacular. Start with a cocktail though – they’re delicious.