I am a huge fan of Italian food. Probably because the lady of the house is Sicilian and can cook pasta pretty, pretty, pretty good.
So when La Tagliata – our favourite Italian restaurant in London – got in touch and invited us to try their new, bigger, menu to see if it still lived up to the last we loved, we couldn’t possibly say no.
Arriving at the restaurant, through crowds of city workers enjoying a pint after work in the traditional inns and new bars the city is home to, we realised it had been almost a year to the day when we first enjoyed our pasta and meat meals.
Hopping up the steps and getting in the warm, the cheery greeting from two members of staff was as warm as ever, despite the restaurant bustling with Christmas parties dining on the fine food and wine on offer. It was a great sight to see so many people chatting and laughing as they tucked into the ever-so delicious food – particularly as it wasn’t even 7pm.
After treating ourselves to a glass of wine (and something fizzy for Laura) we looked over the new menu. Rather than the three options they had before, the chef has expanded his sights with everything from prawns and prosciutto and gnocchi to risotto. There was plenty to choose from, and we spent a good fifteen minutes deciding, then re-deciding, then re-reading, and re-deciding again.
Finally, we knew what we wanted. Forgoing antipasti in anticipation of our mains, I opted for Le Melanzane Alla Parmigiana (£6) – layers of tasty deep fried aubergines with a rich, traditional tomato sauce, shavings of Parmesan, topped with lashings of mozzarella and fresh basil, while Laura settled for the Gnocchi Pomodoro e Bufala (£7.50) – plump and fat gnocchi with La Tagliata’s homemade tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil.
After a short wait, they arrived and we tucked in like we hadn’t eaten in a week. Both dishes were divine, and we were mightily impressed that the food was just as good as it was exactly 12 months before.
The red wine and Prosecco were doing a great job keeping us refreshed after our huge (technically) starters, and we waited to see how the new mains would fare while our now-empty plates were taken away. With the new menu offering more than the traditional meat dish we enjoyed last year, we decided to see if the poultry and seafood would live up to the beef.
I chose La Tagliata di Tonno (£23) – slightly seared tuna coated with sesame and rosemary served with a fennel salad and Laura the Pollo Ripieno (£15) – breaded chicken stuffed with Gorgonzola cheese and pancetta on a bed of rocket, both accompanied by the delicious Patate Della Nonna (£3), or Grandma’s potatoes for those who don’t speak the lingo. I’ve never been a huge fan of barely cooked seafood, but the tuna was amazingly cooked and so fresh you could almost see it coming straight from saltwater to plate. I can also vouch for the chicken too, which was accompanied by Laura’s face lighting up as she realised the food – although different – had managed to live up to its traditional roots.
I had to finish with the Tiramisu (£6) because, well, because. It is an Italian restaurant after all. I had exactly the same for dessert on our first trip – back then I loved the taste and creamy flavours, but thought there was a little too much cocoa powder on top. I’m delighted to report that this time around it was perfect.
Feeling satisfied and in love with the new dishes on offer, we declined a coffee and decided to head home fully aware we’d eaten far too much (but lapped up every morsel).
The best thing about La Tagliata – aside from the food, of course – is the service. It’s a truly authentic Italian restaurant, from the kitchen staff to the chef. And you can really tell the difference too. We will always love the east London location (it’s a literal stone’s throw from Liverpool Street), and with the new menu catering to more diners than ever, again, this restaurant remains firmly on our favourites list.
La Tagliata | 11 Sandy’s Row, London E1 7HW | 020 7247 2818 (booking advised)