Pastaio has been on my list of London restaurants to visit for quite some time. The more informal and breezy spot from acclaimed British chef, restaurateur and food writer Stevie Parle’s portfolio of London restaurants, it sits in the midst of tourist haven Carnaby Soho (very near my other favourite seafood restaurant Claw) and specialises in fresh handmade pasta.
The casual interiors, designed by Tom Dixon Studio, are mostly minimal: an industrial look contrasts with a strikingly colourful bold mural on one wall and long, narrow sociable terrazzo tables complete the look. They have a compact open space at the front, with pavement tables for alfresco dining.
Slurping on brain-freezing but nevertheless refreshing Prosecco Slushies, we decided to order some antipasti to kickstart the lunchtime proceedings.
Kris had the seasonal Vesuvio Tomatoes | Barattiere Cucumber | Olives | Oregano | Balsamico which was like a summer on a plate; vibrant, fresh and colourful, heightening our craving for an Italian getaway.
I had the Burrata | Castello di Resultano Olive Oil | Chilli | Oregano and it was one of the best burrata dishes I have had in London restaurants so far. A simple set up of a shiny, white, squidgy blob of burrata sat on a puddle of fragrant olive oil and specks of chilli. Once cut open, the creamy innards were great to mop up that chilli infused oil. It was an exquisite plate of food.
The main event was a sharing pasta of Seafood Paccheri | Prawns, Clams, Mussels with zucchini, saffron, chilli and white wine. The pastas here are all freshly hand made and reasonably priced.
It arrived impressive looking, cooked and served in Le Creuset’s gorgeous new Ultra Violet Signature Casserole. It was jammed with big chunks of good quality seafood, with all the juices absorbed within the fat ribbons of pasta (and some at the bottom of the deep dish pan which were great to mop up later). At £30 for two, it is a great and reasonably priced seafood pasta dish.
Desserts were slightly underwhelming compared the fanfare of the previous dishes. I had the Saffron and Orange Cannoli and Kris opted for the White Peach and Almond Tart .
The tart was comforting and not too sweet but I found the pastry of the cannoli a bit too hard and brittle. Best to stick to the antipasti and pasta mains for this one.
Service was fast but did not feel rushed. This place is intended to feed hungry office workers on busy weekday lunchtimes and tired shoppers and tourists on weekends. We visited on a weekday lunchtime and there were masses of people but it suddenly died down after 2:30 pm, so pick your time well if you want a good seat, as this is a no reservations restaurant.
Overall, Pastaio met my expectations. It’s a great spot to grab a more than decent lunch at affordable prices if you are in the Carnaby/Oxford Circus area. I am keen to try some of Stevie Parle’s other London restaurants soon including Palantino and Sardine, in collaboration with Alex Jackson.
Location : 19 Ganton St, London W1F 9BN
Website : https://pastaio.london/
Disclaimer : Our meal was complimentary and I was under no obligation to write this blog post. All photos and opinions are mine.