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A champion of ‘cucina povera’ on Exmouth Market, “pretty perfect Paesan” has all the now-familiar accoutrements made famous by the likes of Polpo – think bare brick walls, rustic furniture, distressed tiles, filament light bulbs and a brown-paper menu. Drinkers can head downstairs to low-lit Paesan Underground for vintage cocktails and homemade limoncello, while hungry types should move on up to the main dining room, where it’s possible to graze happily on antipasti and ‘piccolo’ – little sharing plates, ranging from deliciously creamy Gorgonzola and pumpkin arancini to bruschetta ‘pan santo’ with black kale, pancetta and olive oil. Alternatively, go for something bigger – perhaps a gut-busting trio of meatballs with wet polenta, fennel sausage with lentils and soffritto or a “summery Sicilian special” of bucatini with sardines. Cheap set lunches, Sunday brunch and quaffable wines hit the spot, while keen prices and breezy service bolster Paesan’s fun-loving vibe.
Clerkenwell is not somewhere that is usually on my radar so I hadn’t heard of Paesan before I went to check out their new menu. Situated on the corner of Exmouth Market it’s pretty easy to find though. This place prides itself on going back to basics in a good way. Using ingredients that are readily available and turning them into something delicious is all part of their ideology.
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