Rocco, Chelsea (best London Pasta?)
I just realised that over the last ten weeks or so, we’ve been hosting family and friends almost all the time. Is that the case for you too, some kind of London effect? It can get a little cramped in our small one-bedroom flat of course, but mostly it’s great to be able to catch up with everyone, whether they’re staying for a sleepover or for a long weekend. Additionally, I get to play the tour guide across Southbank, Shoreditch, Camden Town, and London Fields like I know what I’m talking about when really, I leverage Twitter for recommendations and put Tripadvisor to good use, but don’t tell anyone.
This weekend it’s my dad and stepmom who are visiting: they’re staying at the flat for four days and I’m so excited to see them! The stakes are high because when they visited last year, they openly said they didn’t fall in love with the city. It was an exceptionally cold and rainy London that greeted them at the time to be fair, so I didn’t take offence and I’m hoping for better odds with the weather this weekend. What that means though, is that I’ve had to think about a fun travel itinerary for them with cultural, historical and alternative things to do – and so I dived into my Photography folder to revisit recent adventures for inspiration.
This is how I realised that I had forgotten to blog about the best Pasta in London.
Really. Do you want to know more?
Last May over the Bank Holiday weekend, Rob and I spent a day wandering in Chelsea and we grabbed lunch at Rocco on Old Brompton Road. If I’m honest, I have a strange relationship with the neighbourhood, which dates back to the days when I was working for the Head Office of a fancy international Business School and I was thrown into the world of prospective students-executives who make six figures a year. I was in my early twenties and a fresh London expat so spending most of my days in Chelsea made me feel a little… inadequate.
More dramatically perhaps, there were no good lunch options. I wish I knew of Rocco then, where you can find fine dining and none of the pretension that (sometimes) comes with it – just great fresh and authentic Italian food. Thankfully my friend Miho had sang the praises of the restaurant in April and so we arranged to pop by.
Prosecco to start (as you do)
Bresaola with Rocket Salad and Parmesan Shavings
Sea Scallops on Mashed Pumpkin and Grapefruit with Clam in Courgette Cream
Homemade Tagliolini Pasta with Raw Tuna and Sorrento Lemon
Homemade Tagliolini Pasta with Crab
Chocolate Soufflé with Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Our lunch was simple but terrific. My favourite of the two starters was the Bresaola with a zesty kick balancing the smoky flavours of the meat and the saltiness of the Parmesan. It was a very generous plate which would easily sustain two people. My main was also outstanding, it really is the best pasta I have had in London: a perfect al-dente homemade Tagliolini with melt-in-your-mouth cubes of fresh tuna, tied in together by a rich and creamy, but somehow also delicate, Sorrento lemon sauce. A month later I’m still thinking about it and craving to go back.
To conclude the meal we were spoilt for choice between the exhaustive selection of Italian cheeses on the menu and the dozen or so homemade cakes proudly displayed in the centre of the room, but I’m a creature of habit and since we were fairly satiated by that point we agreed to go for a classic chocolate soufflé to share, and strong expressos to fuel our walk back to South London through Battersea Park.
If you find yourself in the area, I really recommend paying Rocco a visit. I noticed they have a two-course Lunch menu at £14.99 Monday to Friday, which for the quality of food they’re serving is excellent value.
Now, I would love to know:
Do you like Italian cuisine? What’s you favourite dish? Do you pull your hair out trying to recreate sophisticated Pasta recipes at home and it never tastes quite as good and fresh and light as in the restaurant? Me too.
Rocco | @roccopoint
Open Monday to Sunday, 10am to 11.30pm
254-260 Old Brompton Road, London SW5 9HR
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