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Pastaio is the newest site from restaurateur Stevie Parle, who already oversees the likes of Rotorino and Palatino. Here at Pastaio, the name of the game is to serve plates of handmade pasta at pocket-friendly prices. Tightly packed tables lend themselves to creating buzz, while we have a sneaking suspicion that the vibrant pops of colour and marble-topped tables were chosen with Instagram in mind. Other millennial-bait includes great lemon-dashed Prosecco slushies and a moreish fried ’nduja, mozzarella and honey sandwich which is satisfyingly ‘dirty’, if not the instant classic we’d hoped for. Where Pastaio really shines is in its eight pastas. Soft shells of malloredus are served with crispy shards of pork and a thick sausage sauce, while supremely velvety agnoli is folded over a gamey filling of pheasant, rabbit and pork. Desserts stick to the Italian classics, with the likes of tiramisu and a selection of gelato, but we were impressed by a flaky cannoli, dotted with jewels of pistachio and completed by a fluffy orange and saffron filling. It may not live up to the giddy heights of the much-lauded Padella, but for affordable, fun comfort food in the heart of Soho, we reckon Pastaio is worth every penne.
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