The City of London and its East End has always fascinated me. My grandparents were one of the thousands of families who lived in the area before moving farther and farther out, and in part due to its decimation during the Blitz it’s been an area of London which changes month by month. Some call it gentrification, and yeah I agree to an extent.
I mean, who could afford to live in the area that was once known as Cripplegate due to Bedlam hospital literally being where Liverpool Street Station now stands? The area’s full of high end boutiques, cereal cafes, crazy expensive hotels and member’s only clubs you could only ever dream of.
Even so, I was thrilled to hear about this little Italian kitchen, which only opened in July, shaping the landscape of my favourite city again. La Tagliata, meaning The Cut, is located just outside Liverpool Street Station.
Take the escalators up to Bishopsgate, and cross the road. Walk down Middlesex Street (formerly Petticoat Lane before insulted residents apparently deemed the name too offensive).
Take the left fork at Widegate Street and you’ll soon come to Artillery Lane Passage, one of the narrowest streets in London.
Sandy’s Lane, and La Tagliata is just on the right.
If you can’t recognise where you are from those photos, Google Maps will help.
La Tagliata London review
Back to the present. We walked in and were promptly greeted by Andrew, who would be looking after us tonight. We arrived at 6pm to an empty restaurant. It’s never the best impression, but after ordering a well needed glass of prosecco, Andrew invited us to take a look around. Almost all tables were reserved, and sure enough about half an hour later, the place was rammed with diners.
The restaurant is divided into room areas. There’s a wine themed room, a library themed room, the chef’s table, and further private dining room in the second half of the building, one with a peephole into the kitchen.
After wondering why the layout was almost a little higgledy piggledy, we learned the building used to be houses which, when a lot of Jewish immigrants moved in, gradually converted into shops. Sandy’s Lane Synagogue, the only surviving place of worship in the area, is still open. According to the staff at the restaurant an old Jewish lady used to own one of the rooms and used it as a sewing shop.
Back to the menu, and one of the most simple selections on offer. There’s a choice of bread, four sauces for your pasta, and then la taglilata (which is steak, marinaded, cooked and thinly sliced) with a selection of desserts and cheeses. Three courses will cost £29 – a steal in these parts. If you’re a light eater, save the fiver and just go for two courses.
Now, as I’ve been used to Sicilian feasts my entire life – pasta, meat, potatoes, salad, monkey nuts and on special occasions, dessert – I’m quite a harsh critic of Italian restaurants. We reviewed one a while back which really didn’t live up to its reputation, and we just couldn’t recommend to you readers. So you bet we judged this on the same criteria.
I decided to try the pesto (ain’t no one makes better pesto than Zia Enza (my aunty)) and David went for the ragu after trying mum’s version a few weeks ago. Andrew informed us the pasta is made fresh daily, and pesto is made with a combination of pecorino and parmesan cheese.
After waiting about fifteen minutes, the dishes arrived. They looked beautifully presented, however the proof of the pasta is in the eating, and tuck in we did.
Now, something happened which changed the course of our evening. As soon as David lifted his fork, loaded with pasta and sauce, I got a whiff of the ragu. And it. Was. Amazing. It had the exact same smell as my nonna’s does. Generations after generations of technique and minute changes passed down from mother to daughter, and here I was in London city eating a dish that could have come straight out of my nonna’s kitchen.
It was sublime. The pesto, purely through me never having eaten such authentic ragu in a restaurant, was delicious but totally overwhelmed by the authenticity and meatiness of the ragu.
After we’d wiped our plates clean, it was time for the main course, and the eponymous dish we’d been looking forward to. I asked for my steak rare, David’s was medium rare. I also chose shepherd’s potatoes, which is potatoes boiled in a meat and herb stock. They end up half mushy, half solid, and they’re amazing when mum makes them. David chose roast.
The steak was served very rare, perfect for my tastes, but be aware if you like your meat slightly pink you’ll have to factor this in. Going for well done will probably be a good option, as even David’s was pinker than a medium rare usually would be.
The meat, though, was delicious. Having been sat in herbs and spices, the meat was gorgeously seared. Coupled with my herby potatoes and shavings of parmesan with rocket, it was such a lovely dish. The portion size was perfect, thought it could be a bit small if you didn’t go for the pasta starter.
After our plates were cleared by Andrea, our waitress, we were presented with the dessert menu. Usually, we’d try the cheese board, but we just knew based on the quality of the food we’d already had a traditional dessert needed to be sampled.
David’s choice was the tiramisu (which literally means Lift Me Up) and I chose the panacotta. I’m not a massive fan of them, I’ll be honest, and I was very blunt with Andrew about my hatred of the usually wobbly, heavy dessert. He suggested I give it a go anyway (are you MAD, man?!) and I waited.
It arrived with a swirl of caramel sauce, and I tentatively tucked in to this much-hated pudding. To my surprise (and Andrew’s clear delight) I loved it. It had a creamy texture, not jelly, and tasted ever-so-slightly vanilla sweet, not heavy. There was a bit too much for me based on how much I’d already eaten. David of course helped me finish it (so brave).
David’s tiramisu was lovely, though there was just a bit too much cocoa powder on top which gave the dessert a really bitter after-taste. The sponge was soaked in coffee liqueur and the cream wasn’t hard set – like you’ll find most are served in the UK – but more delicate and light. It was gorgeous, just not as nice as the panacotta due to the bitterness.
Overall, we loved La Taglilata. We’ve got plans to bring friends and family back and given how close it is to Liverpool Street, it’ll be one of those places we stop at for a special meal or just for some home comforts after a day in the capital. The staff are friendly, the chefs are Italian, the restaurant is gorgeous, and the food is some of the best traditional cooking I’ve had outside of Sicily. Definitely give it a go.