For Christmas, Stew and I were lucky enough to receive tickets for Motown The Musical, at Shaftesbury Theatre. We had been interested in seeing the musical, ever since it first hit the West End. It was a very uplifting and powerful storyline, one I didn’t know before watching the musical, and the soundtrack was brilliant. We were dancing and singing the whole way through!
As we went to see a matinee performance, we decided to grab an early dinner afterwards. Of course, trying to find anywhere to eat in central London on a Saturday night, without a reservation, is a struggle, and we found ourselves wandering around Soho for sometime, before we stumbled upon Pastaio. Located on Ganton Street, near Kingly Court and Carnaby Street, Pastaio is a relatiely new spot, serving up fresh Italian pasta dishes, with all pasta being made that day.
With communal tables, it reminded me a little of Vapiano’s, except it’s waiter service and although it has a lively atmosphere, it’s low lighting creates a beautiful ambience.
The menu is simple and so it should be. When you’re creating authentic pasta dishes that are as good as any restaurant in Italy, you don’t need to fuss. We shared a number of starters between four of us, including their Fried Mozzarella, Nduja & Honey Sandwich (amazing!), Cured Meat & Sweet Pickles and the Castelfranco, Pomegranate & Pecorino Salad (my favourite).
I chose the Broken Pasta, White Beans, Cavolo Nero & Olive Oil for my main, which was nothing like I expected it to be but I was intrigued. It ended up being almost like a broth or soup, but the addition of white beans and kale helped break up the cheesy pasta, and it ended up being super filling, even though it looked like a relatively small portion.
Meanwhile, Stew chose the Crab, Chilli, Cherry Tomato & Black Reginette – their most popular dish. I had never seen, or tried, reginette pasta before. It’s a flat pasta with a beautiful crinkled edge to it. I could see why this was so popular, it’s quite a show stopper when the waiter brings it to the table, and it’s full of delicious flavour. But the portion size was small and for £11, not all that cheap. Stew actually left still feeling hungry, a rarity for him, which wasn’t great. However it really was exceptional pasta. He just could’ve done with more of it.
In fairness, we could’ve chose to finish our meal with a dessert, but at the time I felt full, and Stew was still craving savoury.
One of the best things about this spot, and something that is often a rarity nowadays, was the incredible service we received. Both the waiters and managers were super attentive, knew the menu like the back of their hand, and gave great recommendations.
I love stumbling upon gems like this!
- Fantastic pasta – brought back memories from my Italian travels
- Simple menu, perfectly thought out
- Great atmosphere
- Perfectly located, just off Carnaby Street
- Portions were on the small side