Londoners see hundreds of these ‘restaurants’ shoved into every nook and cranny of central London. Though never homogenous chains, they somehow manage to all look the same and serve exactly the same thing – big deli fridge, fry ups in the morning, pre-made ‘gourmet’ sandwiches, jacket potatoes, microwaved lasagne…etc. Short of time to go elsewhere one day, a friend and I popped in and ordered some Arrabbiata Pasta (£5) and Carbonara Pasta (£5.50). By chance, it was a tastecard restaurant and we got it at £2.75 a bowl.
While admiring the vintage italian-brand produce shelf décor, I realised our pasta was coming from the kitchen, not the microwave! Pasta win! Food arrived – parmesan offered. Pasta rarely impresses, even more so in a bog standard café, but we were sitting in front of unexpectedly tasty pasta. A quick chat with the waitress and we discovered their Italian chef uses only De Cecco pasta – the only dry pasta Italians will swear by. Premium pasta, well made. I hope they never cut costs. Or fire the chef. Who knows what their microwaved Shepherd’s Pie is like. But the pasta is weirdly good.
£20 (2 people)
Temple Underground station, London WC2R 2PH