Italian restaurants are, to me, something of a tradition. Everyone seems to have their go-to haunts (mine being Signor Sassi, Sale e Pepe and Margot) and aren’t easily coerced into a one-night affair away from the comforts and loyalty that lie with their beloved. Cue the new Fitzrovia branch of the City’s La Tagliata to shake things up.
The extensive menu tickled so many of our fancies that we decided on commencing the feast with a pre-starter selection of bruschette.
4 slices of what could only be called toast if we were describing the crust and not the soft centre, were topped with a pleasant artichoke spread, the unremarkable mozzarella and pesto, rich sundried tomatoes and a distinctly blah heap of diced aubergine. The hero was the small piece of smoky lardo-topped crostini hiding on the corner of the slate plate I would see a further four times throughout this meal, in what I can only assume was a bid to be avant-garde in a rather passé way. My concerns about this bid for modernity overshadowing the homely comfort I seek in traditional Italian cuisine were fortunately put to rest upon the arrival of ‘le melanzane alla parmigiana’.
Rich, indulgent, and assuredly homemade tomato sauce laced with lashings of parmesan and mozzarella feels like a reassuring hug from the Italian grandmother you never had, the green pesto lifting the dish into an Italian heaven you won’t ever want to come down from. This is the comfort I had been longing for.
Then arrives a huge slate housing an orgy of San Daniele prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella.
The depth and flavour of this melt-in-the-mouth marbled ham makes for a perfect marriage with the creamy-yet-delicate mozzarella that I returned to on about four different occasions, despite my unsuccessful attempts to save my appetite for the mains. It’s a surprise this rings in at only £12 given that it is easily enough for two to share.
It felt wrong to not order ‘la tagliata di manzo’ whilst dining at its namesake, but after an adamant recommendation from the waitress, it is the jacked-up version we opt for.
La sublime is a 7 oz., minimum 28 day dry-aged fillet of beef served with truffle salt, rosemary and balsamic glaze; sublime it is indeed. Beautifully cooked slices of lean tenderness glistening with drizzles of olive oil are enwrapped in the chargrilled smokiness of the encasing sear; a delight for the palate just as much as the eyes.
The one thing I was absolutely not going to be convinced out of ordering was the black truffle carbonara I conveniently stumbled across on the specials menu.
Perfectly al dente spaghetti is entwined in an authentic carbonara sauce (using the yolk of the egg as opposed to drowning the customer in cream) and topped with black truffle that is instantly identifiable as one of superb quality by the entrancing aroma. The creamy goodness is cut by the spice of the black pepper and lifted by the saltiness of the bacon pieces whose texture unfortunately feels more like they were soaked in oil as opposed to fried and crisped up in it. Texture of the bacon aside, this dish is sheer satisfaction… A tradition topped with truffle.
Ten minutes later we find ourselves greedily ordering dessert in the La Tagliata wine and cocktail bar next door, where we sample a generously sized, yet subtle and light, tiramisu and a silky vanilla panna cotta displaying the most wonderful of wobbles (if only my wobbles were as highly esteemed as those of a panna cotta, I would be a very happy lady indeed). Strawberry and raspberry sauces are on offer, but I seriously recommend you choose the caramel sauce whose burnt tones offset the richness of The Wobble so wonderfully.
The bar is open 12pm-12am 7 days a week and a sneak peek of the menu had me lusting after both the truffle pizza and beef carpaccio pizza, especially given that you can nab a pizza and beer here for only £9 all day every day. Wines here start at around £26 per bottle and the cocktails at £9.50 each. God knows why, but I was attempting to be well behaved on this occasion and so didn’t consume any alcohol, although I’ll definitely be back not only for the food but also to neck one of the hilariously described cocktails. I’m 99% sure I’ll be going for the ‘Martinez’: ‘This is a perfectly elegant post-dinner cocktail but carries enough spirit to see you through a night of debauchery’. Sounds like a bit of me.
45 Grafton Way
London, W1T 5DQ
Mon-Fri 12-2:15PM and 6-10:15PM
Phone: 0203 538 7200