Pasta Evangelists at Harrods: Regional comfort food in proper Italian portions
If you haven’t been to Harrods dining hall, you may want to bring a map. This iconic department store can be something of a maze for visitors, though after circling past handbags worth more than my London rent, countless deli counters and even a new section devoted entirely to artisan chocolate, one does begin to wonder if this wasn’t their plan all along. By the time I reach the food court itself, I’ve worked up quite the appetite – which is perfect, because I’m here for some gloriously gluten-laden Italian fare.
Pasta Evangelists are not newcomers to the food scene: first and foremost a delivery concept, the company have been couriering their meals to fusilli fiends across the country for over five years. However, given how sick we all are of our own kitchens, it seems an opportune moment for the team to branch out and invite customers to experience a change of scenery at their very first physical site. This restaurant opening adds a new dimension in the form of table service, but despite the high-brow setting, this landmark Harrods outlet brings an element of the home comfort the brand are known for. Like the plates served up at the neighbouring (and also newly launched) Kerridge’s Fish & Chips, this is happy, filling food – but fancier.
There are only a few starters listed on the modest menu, but given that one of them is a Selection of Italian Cheeses, we don’t feel too short-changed. The board reminds us why dairy is so fiercely protected with designations, encompassing a range of popular regional staples, from stringy mozzarella and olive-oil-drizzled burrata to tangy taleggio and parmesan, as well as the unexpected highlight, a fluffy wedge of smoked ricotta. This lactose-loaded platter is perfect for sharing, and nicely offset by a second, lighter dish, the White Asparagus and Quinoa Salad.
When it comes to the main event, we are drawn organically towards the chef specialities: Sedanini and Spaghettoni all’Aragosta. Both pasta dishes are prepared and freshly plated in front of us (though a glass barrier prevents us from swiping them right off the counter before they are ready). The former is rich and earthy, the golden tubes topped with a generous helping of black truffle and laced with Roman salt and pepper, like a hoard of Saxon jewellery ready to be excavated. The seafood option, though, is a polished exhibit. A reverse-tornado of tomato-drenched noodles provides sanctuary for juicy bites of lobster and aubergine, each strand packing intense notes of red chilli, sun-dried tomato and basil. We do advise, though, that you exercise caution when swirling: spaghettini has a tendency to spray sauce in every direction, sprinkler-style, so in an establishment such as this, you may want to shield yourself pre-emptively with a napkin.
There’s only one dessert option to round off the meal but perhaps it’s because these chefs know that tiramisu was not made to be shared. Impossibly airy with a generous dusting of cocoa and a deep coffee kick, it’s a lavish dessert that leaves absolutely no room for regret. A delicate chocolate emblem makes for a pleasing patisserie-style touch, as if stamping our meal with the official seal of approval.
While this is certainly pasta with a price tag (perhaps relative when you consider that the fish and chips next door will set you back £35), this restaurant is, like your favourite family member, a feeder. The Evangelists are passionate carb converters at the top of their game, and while they can’t promise you immunity from bloating, they can promise proper Italian portions that are worth every calorie.
Photos: Cristiana Ferrauti
To book a table at Pasta Evangelists at Harrods, 87–135 Brompton Road SW1X 7XL, call 020 3828 7042 or visit their website here.