NOTTO Covent Garden

Italian·
££££
·
Bronze Award

SquareMeal Review of NOTTO Covent Garden

Bronze Award

In a city where pasta joints feel as numerous as train stations, it can be hard to discover one that is truly worth every penne. Joining her sister in Piccadilly, NOTTO Covent Garden is the second installation of Phil Howard’s pocket-pleasing pasta restaurants in London’s bustling West End.

Upon escaping the crowds of Henrietta Street, the interiors reflect the simple and unfussy ambitions of the menu. The limewash walls, Scandi-inspired furniture, and terrazzo imitation flooring adhere to a bamboo colour palette perhaps better suited to lunchtime dining. Harsh lighting and faint almost sombre music initially give a rather severe impression, though any awkwardness is quickly dispelled by the welcoming reception of friendly staff.

We’re here for the pasta, but it would be rude to reject an offering of focaccia. It was exactly how it should be - like a crispy-topped mattress with air pockets large and small. Next, wild mushroom arancini stuffed with flowing stracchino cheese and crowned with tangy parmesan. Owing to the balance of flavour we firmly set aside any scruples and forgave the plural description for what is a large but singular arancino.

When it comes to pasta seasoning is everything, and NOTTO understands this very well. The highlight arrived in the form of glistening pappardelle ribbons, dressed in a four-hour slow-cooked ragu with plentiful hunks of beef short rib which disappeared far too quickly and without remorse. The second signature, strozzapreti with black truffle, paradoxically lacked the elegance and personality implied by its £25 price tag. Finishing up, we went for a Tequila-spiked tiramisu laced with hazelnut pieces that was totally unpretentious and generously portioned - two things every pasta restaurant should be.

A few small issues aside, the dangerously drinkable wine list, affordable seasonal dishes, and a lunch set menu for just £17.50 make NOTTO a rare central London gem.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cuisines
Italian
Ambience
Cool, Lively
Food Occasions
All day dining, Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Vegetarian options
Perfect for
Child friendly

About

What’s not to like about fresh affordable pasta? NOTTO first emerged amidst the challenges of COVID-19 lockdowns as a mail-order fresh pasta delivery service before turning to exclusively in-house dining in Autumn 2022 with their first pasta bar in Piccadilly. NOTTO 's journey since then has been nothing short of remarkable, but we can hardly be surprised - at the helm is Phil Howard, the legendary former head of two Michelin-starred The Square, and chef patron of excellent Elystan Street in Chelsea.

Executive head chef Louis Korovalis, who previously made his mark on the London pasta scene first at Bancone before heading to Noci, is also making the move from Piccadilly to the second opening in Covent Garden. Together, they bring a wealth of experience and an unwavering passion for crafting exceptional yet affordable pasta dishes.  

NOTTO Covent Garden offers a variety of Italian plates and affordable pasta dishes in a relaxed but minimalist setting. The 96-cover dining room is fitted with terrazzo-imitation flooring, a mixture of scandi-style tables and chairs, and pistachio-coloured banquettes all illuminated by an impressive skylight. With natural hues and clean lines, it’s all very contemporary.  

The starter selection includes such classics as burrata served on a bed of cavolo nero, veal tonnato, and wild mushroom arancini along with homemade rosemary and tomato focaccia. As for the much-anticipated pasta selection, expect to see the likes of strozzapreti with truffle and mushroom, pumpkin and chestnut ravioli, and papperdelle with slow-cooked beef short rib. Be aware, the menu hosts only eight pasta dishes at a time and changes monthly in accordance with the seasons.  

Naturally, the wine list draws heavily from Italian wineries but includes some lesser-known varietals at very un-London prices. All bottles are available by the glass, which is a sensible move given that pasta is generally quite a speedy dining occasion.  


FAQs

Is there a lunch menu?

Yes, there is a set menu available alongside the a la carte menu.

Helpful? 0

Who is behind the restaurant?

Chef Phil Howard is behind the concept. Howard previously held two Michelin stars at The Square in St James's.

Helpful? 0

Location

4 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8PS

020 3034 2191 020 3034 2191

Website

Opening Times

All day
Mon 12:00-23:00
Tue 12:00-23:00
Wed 12:00-23:00
Thu 12:00-23:00
Fri 12:00-23:00
Sat 12:00-23:00
Sun 12:00-22:00

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Call NOTTO Covent Garden to make a booking on:

020 3034 2191 020 3034 2191

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