Knock, knock, knocking on leaven’s door
IN CASE you want to get in a last splurge of pizza and pasta before they become forbidden over Pesach, here are our top 10 places to get your carb fix. Perhaps you have cleared out your cupboards a mite prematurely? No need to start the unleavened season early. Just pop out to one of these.
One of our favourite north London Italian bistros is Incontro on Crouch Hill in north London, where chef Morris Orlando and his partner Sara Meli look after you as if you are in their own home. It is hard to choose a favourite dish but, if we had to single out one, we would feast on creamy, comforting gnocchi saraceni with taleggio cheese and crushed pistachios. incontrorestaurant.co.uk BERNARDI’S
This sophisticated but relaxed modern Italian all-day brasserie in Portman Village is our choice when we are out and about in central London. The stand-out dish is the rich fettuccine with Paris Brown mushrooms and black truffle. bernardis.co.uk
Rullo’s Pizzeria in Camden, north west London is the second venture from Amie Ingram and Salvatore Rullo, following on from their successful Italian bistro in Kensal Rise, simply called Rullo’s. Here you will find a traditional wood-fired pizza oven, brought all the way from Naples. We find it hard to resist the vegetarian crusted ricotta pizza with aubergine, cherry tomatoes, artichokes, mozzarella and fresh basil. For pasta lovers we recommend trofie with pesto, pine nuts and green beans. rullos.co ANTONIO’S
Hidden away from the bustle of Upper Street in Islington, north London is family-owned and family-friendly Antonio’s, offering specialities from Calabria. There is an antipasti bar upstairs but we prefer to sit downstairs and gorge on cannelloni with ricotta, spinach and parmesan, baked in a tomato sauce. antoniosristorante.co.uk
In London’s Covent Garden, we love simple and authentic Orso, sister restaurant to Joe Allen and linked to it via a subterranean passage. Orso has been serving modern seasonal Milanese fare since 1985 and our dish of choice here is the pizza di capra, with goat’s cheese, spinach and black olives. orsorestaurant.co.uk
With branches in Hendon, Edgware and Golders Green, Amaretto is wellplaced for north-west Londoners. Head chef and owner Flo Bajij learnt his trade in southern Italy and has brought a true taste of his home country to north London.
Sometimes we like to keep things really simple, so we go for the spaghetti zingara with just olive oil, garlic and chili. We also love the Etna pizza, with mozzarella cheese, tomato, aubergines, black olives, onions and chilli, topped with an egg. amarettoristorante.co.uk
Bright and spacious and decked out in sunny yellow and vibrant blue, Kiss Kiss in Elstree, Hertfordshire always makes us feel as though we are on holiday. It does both pizza and pasta with black truffle and, as this is one of our favourite flavours, we pop in whenever we can. kisskiss-italian.co.uk SEVEN
Seven is a New York-style little gem in Harrow, Middlesex and in the short time it has been there, it has made a real impression. The sourdough pizza base is made on-site every day using just flour salt and water and is crispy and chewy at the same time. We love the Green One, with courgette, asparagus and spinach — and the Nutella pizza doughnut for dessert. sevenrestaurants.com
Right on Cambridge Circus, at the heart of London’s West End, Vico is the perfect pitstop pre- and post- theatre. We order the fettuccine with finferli (chanterelle) mushrooms and parmesan and the basil pesto spaghetti with pine nuts, then share both. Be warned: the in-house gelateria on the way out is hard to resist. eatvico.com
MIMMO LA BUFALA
A Hampstead favourite, Mimmo la Bufala is a lively Italian fine-dining restaurant, featuring favourite dishes with contemporary flair. Time Out listed it in the top 10 pizza haunts London but we love the orecchiette alla Sofia, pasta shells with fresh spinach, sundried tomato, garlic and ricotta cheese. mimmolabufala.co.uk
Louisa Walters and Kate Posener are founders of The Restaurant Club, a private members’ scheme offering discounts at independent and individual restaurants in and around London, therestaurantclub.com Crispy, chewy perfection: sourdough pizza at Seven
Vico’s fettucine with finferli and parmesan