What this little restaurant on the North End Road lacks in size it makes up for with oodles of character and a hearty menu of crowd-pleasing Italian classics. Bold leaf-print wallpaper rubs alongside exposed brickwork with distressed white paintwork and an abundance of trailing foliage. The simple wooden tables create a rustic and relaxed feel and the open kitchen with built in pizza oven add to the convivial atmosphere. Little known is the garden out the back enabling diner to enjoy a drink or meal al fresco in the warmer months.
The team behind Maurizio Barca promises an authentic Italian experience with a menu that respects traditional Italian recipes using authentic Italian ingredients with a strong focus on quality and provenance. Starters comprise a selection of light and fresh charcuterie and cheese based dishes including a caprese salad with Parma ham, buffalo mozzarella DOP, tomatoes and oregano; Burrata served with rocket and cherry tomatoes; and bruschetta topped with fresh tomato, garlic, oregano and basil.
Mains are split simply between pasta and pizza dishes. Alongside the familiar classics diners can try the likes of paccheri postiano – handmade paccheri pasta with king prawns, langoustines, garlic cherry tomatoes and chili; or linguine alla Allessandra – which sees squid ink linguine paired with shrimps, rocket and a sauce made from cherry tomatoes, shallots and white wine. Highlights from the pizza selection include the Hotty Hotty – tomato sauce, mozzarella, spianata, salami, green chili, and black olives; and the luxurious Pizza Tiziana topped with mozzarella, porcini mushrooms, creamy gorgonzola cheese, shaved pecorino and truffle.
Those with a sweet tooth are equally well catered for with a selection of decadent Italian desserts to choose from including a classic tiramisu; affogato; Mont Blanc; profiteroles and hazelnut cake. Elsewhere the drinks list comprises an affordable assortment of wines available by the glass and bottle as well as a small selection of Italian cocktails including an Aperol spritz, negroni and Campari tonic.