Pasta e Pizza is one of four restaurants at glossy Eataly, which combines the produce of a market with the luxurious atmosphere of a department store. Eataly is a temple to Italian food, with racks of wine towering above diners and fresh pasta spilling from every nook and cranny - you’d be hard pressed not to be drawn into its clear passion for Italian cuisine.
On our visit to Paste e Pizza, we were greeted by a cadre of helpful staff, who were willing to guide us through the menu's offering. First, we opted for cocktails, with the zesty orange of Aperol Spritz drawing the line between the fruity and the glamour of Prosecco. Contrastingly, the Penicillina is a punchy, vivacious mix of Monkey Shoulder, Laproaig ten year old Scotch whiskies and ginger that impresses with its bitter tang.
From the food menu, starters are unapologetically Italian; ‘Frisella and Bufalla’ is a bruschetta made with crunchy Frisella bread and topped with an indulgent fresh ball of buffalo mozzarella - an irresistibly charming start.
Pizza and pasta, the cornerstones of Italian dining, are the obvious things to order come mains. The Tajarin Al Tartufo is a pasta lavishly garnished with a bundle of earthy grated black truffles and Italian sourced Parmigiano Reggiano. It’s a creamy sumptuous treat which is a perfect example of simple food done well.
For dessert, cannoli and tiramisu offered a rich finale. The cannoli was a flakey, chocolate-topped delight, filled with a sweet smooth filling that pleased, while the tiramisu offered layered excellence of coffee and lush cream.
The atmosphere of the restaurant has a charming liveliness and high spirit to it. However, Pasta e Pizza falls short with it’s confused identity; we found at times the vibe was akin to a high street chain, contradicting the emphasis on authenticity that Eataly espouses. We also found the menu confusing to navigate for plant-based diners, with vegetarian options labelled inconsistently.
Despite these flaws, Pasta e Pizza - through its focus on freshness and simplicity - makes for a good option for casual dining, whether for post-work dinners or something a little more romantic.