Pasta Remoli in Finsbury Park: A perfect cosy pasta temple
There are never enough pasta places in town. It may sound a bit cliché, but to make sure to taste the original dish, Italian establishments are more often than not a safe bet.
For World Pasta Day, we couldn’t turn down an invitation to try the menu at Pasta Remoli. With a third restaurant opening soon in Ealing Broadway and the very first expanding more and more at Westfield, Simone Remoli has set up the perfect cosy pasta temple with his latest dining venue in Finsbury Park.
Offering the choice of takeaway or eat-in, this chain of restaurants guarantees handmade and mouth-watering dishes. Sticking to the tradition for what is regarded as fresh production – all except from meat and fish sourced directly from Italy – the chef leaves the choice of mixing the type of pasta with the sauce to the customer. But if diners are in doubt on what to try, the staff are always on hand to advise.
The kitchen is open, with a display of some of the raw ingredients used right in front of it. The counter is always busy as everything is made on the day at a very competitive speed with fast food restaurants.
We started the meal with the antipasti. There are few pleasures as good as a bite of burrata melting right on the tongue. The mozzarella cheese was served together with parma ham and slightly toasted slices of focaccia.
As the mains arrived, we were offered a choice between two wines. The white Pecorino was a bitter accompaniment for the vegetable servings. For the red, we had instead a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo with character.
Among the challenges with filled pasta is to reach a good balance of al dente cooking while matching a sauce not too overwhelming, and Simone Remoli proved he has a great talent in this. The Truffle and Mushroom Ravioli easily got top marks from us. The fair thickness of the pasta, topped with olive oil, sage and parmesan, once in the mouth, soon released a burst of flavours, with no trace of heaviness that may be expected by butter pan-fry. Like the burrata, it was a simple yet striking delight.
The signature dish, Oxtail Agnolotti in Oxtail Sauce, was another of our favourites. A traditional Roman recipe, the stuffed pasta gets its tender filling from a five-hour steam process of the meat, and then a reduction of it is used for the sauce.
Spicier than all the rest, the Squid Ravioli with ‘Nduja played with a very strong flavour from the Italian kitchen. Uncommonly matched with the inky seafood, the Calabrian sausage’s tang seemed impossible to be contained in such a tiny type of pasta. The Pumpkin Gnocchi, like the Oxtail Agnolotti, remained on a single ingredient, without being too mushy. The potato was well mixed to moderate the sweet taste of the fruit.
The meal concluded with three characteristic Italian desserts. The Sicilian Cannoli, difficult to find in its original form around London because of the fresh ricotta, was a perfect crunchy and creamy combination. Another delicacy not easy to forget was the Caramel Baked Cheesecake. Presented so as to exalt the colourful complementing of its elements, the dessert’s exquisite taste was a fine mix of the sweet with the solid base. Less memorable, unfortunately, was the Tiramisù – while it succeeds in preserving the recipe’s authenticity utilising mascarpone, on the other hand the biscotto base felt too lost in the cup.
The passion for truly tasty bites and of offering traditional dishes is at the heart of Simone Remoli’s work. “When we open a new place,” he told us at the end of the evening, “it always takes some time to define the menu. That’s because we want to know the people, not only the customers but also those we work with. As depending on the skills and the taste, we test and improve every time.”
And every serving is a confirmation of Pasta Remoli’s authentic approach.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Maria Barrios
To book a table at Pasta Remoli, 7 Clifton Terrace Finsbury Park London N4 3JP, call 020 7263 2948 or visit their website here.