La Tagliata in Spitalfields
There are two types of Italian restaurants: one is a safe pair of hands, a local haunt tucked unassumingly down the side of a high street, boasting quirky front-of-house staff, wood-fired pizzas and free limoncello with your bill; the other is a special treat, the sort of place you’d take a date or family member to to sample the finest handmade pasta and most expensive cuts of meat, all while dining under soft candlelight. La Tagliata on Sandy’s Row is the latter.
Located inconspicuously down the backstreets surrounding Spitalfields Market, you could easily walk past this restaurant without so much as a second glance. It blends in seamlessly with neighbouring boutique shops and pubs, and although it proudly hangs its menu outside for curious passers-by to take a look, it seems evident that loyal clientele already know where to find it. La Tagliata’s interior is cosy, with sectioned-off dining areas seating only a handful of tables. Intimacy is the priority here, and the candle-lit table settings and homey decorations of fresh flowers and hanging artwork give off this feel incredibly well.
The food menu is nicely put together, offering family recipes, a lavish wine list and rotating specials to suit the season. We begin with a variety of pasta and antipasti. Le Melanzane alla Parmigiana is a hearty choice, with layers of deep-fried aubergines coming coated indulgently with tomato sauce, parmesan, mozzarella and fresh basil. Le Tagliatelle Zucchine e Gamberi comes beautifully presented – the homemade pasta dashed with courgettes and prawns and sautéed with brandy, parsley and lobster sauce. Oozing with flavour, both dishes are delicious when devoured with a selection of La Tagliata’s home-baked focaccia.
Giving inspiration to the restaurant’s name, we had high expectations when ordering two of the venue’s signature main courses. Opting for La Tagliata di Manzo and Il Pollo Ripieno – a medium-cooked beef sirloin and stuffed chicken breast cut into thick pieces – we were surprised by the simplistic nature of the dishes on arrival. The meats came resting on a bed of rocket and tomatoes and decorated with a swirl of balsamic glaze; and while the two meats didn’t disappoint to taste (with the gorgonzola cheese accompanying the chicken a particular boost), they fell short of any overwhelming reception.
To finish, we stuck with delightful Italian favourites – a creamy Tiramisu and raspberry Panna Cotta. Both were excellent choices, lovingly prepared and incredibly moreish in rounding off a truly filling meal.
With a little flair added to its dishes and modern creativity injected into its assortment of family recipes, La Tagliata has the potential to be one of East London’s nicest Italian restaurants.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Anna Dack (except featured and stuffed chicken)
To book a table at La Tagliata, 11 Sandy’s Row London E1 7HW, call 0207 018 4300 or visit their website here.