Chef Stevie Parle opens Pastaio at Giant Robot to test the Wharf’s water
On a Thursday lunchtime, Giant Robot Canary Wharf is abuzz with office workers on the hunt for a quick rooftop lunch. The latest stall to join the party, which launched in late November, is Pastaio.
Chef Stevie Parle is no stranger to street food, having made his name with the 2008-9 Moveable Kitchen project.
Pastaio at Giant Robot is an offshoot of his Soho pasta restaurant of the same name, and the Canary Wharf branch of Street Feast is a test ground for the chef’s potential plans to expand his empire on the estate.
“I’d like to do a bricks and mortar restaurant at some point in Canary Wharf,” he said.
“So it’s nice to get a bit of a following here and suss out the situation with Deliveroo and click and collect.”
Both the Soho and Giant Robot Pastaio restaurants have launched an online pre-pay click-and-collect takeaway service, as well as a Deliveroo account, to coincide with the Canary Wharf launch.
So what can diners expect to find on the menu?
“As with the original Pastaio in Soho, all the pasta is fresh and made here,” said Stevie.
“The good thing about it is we can offer great value because pasta in itself is a cheaper product.
“You’re really getting to eat the best things you possibly can for not much money, which is nice.
“The menu is made up of the best dishes we do in Soho. There’s the slow-cooked sausage sauce – we cook Italian sausages down for hours with tomatoes and red wine, then mix that with Sardinian malloreddus pasta (£8.50).
“Then we do a really simple but perfect rigatoni with tomato sauce, slow-cooked for a long time (£6.50).
“Wild mushroom casarecce is always super popular (£11) as is the cacio e pepe (£8.50), which has got quite a cult following. Ours is with bucatini [spaghetti-like pasta with a hole in the middle], pecorino cheese and a really spicy and aromatic black pepper.
“For antipasti, we’ve got a really simple burrata with tomatoes (£8.50); speck, which is a smoked, pressed prosciutto ham (£3.50); and deep-fried mozzarella with ’nduja honey (£7).
“Then we’ve got Prosecco slushies for a fun boozy drink.”
Provenance of ingredients is just as important at the new Pastaio as in Stevie’s six other endeavours, with the chef counting on his long-term suppliers to come up with the goods.
“I’ve been cooking in London for 15 years so I’ve had really long-standing relationships with producers and farmers,” he said.
‘‘ The meat is from Yorkshire, the burrata is from Puglia, the semolina is from Lazio, the spelt and rye that we put in the pasta is from Norfolk
Stevie Parle, Pastaio
“Which means we get great value and great quality.
“The meat is from Yorkshire, the burrata is from Puglia, the semolina is from Lazio, the spelt and rye that we put in the pasta is from Norfolk.
“The mushroom dish is the most expensive on the menu because there’s a guy out there foraging for the wild mushrooms.”
There’s been a high turnover of restaurateurs in Pastaio’s Giant Robot spot.
What can Stevie offer to make Pastaio stand the test of time?
“We have our own following already, and a strong enough brand and presence to bring people here just for us,” he said.
“There have been some great operators in that spot though, so we’ll have to see how it goes.”
Either way, the chef is excited about the location.
“It’s a little bit of a secret garden here, not everyone knows about it,” he said.
But if his newest pasta outpost takes off as well as it did in Soho, that won’t last.
Chef Stevie Parle is excited abut the launch of Pastaio at Giant Robot
The pasta is all fresh at Pastaio with all dishes created on site