Distressed walls and concrete floors provide an industrial juxtaposition to culinary flair at trendy new pasta place, the mysteriously appellated Officina 00.
Like many trendy new pasta places, it’s in Shoreditch – but it bubbles with an unselfconscious creative chutzpah that sets it apart from your run-of-the-mill macaroni truffle oil gentrified joint.
Jumping on a bandwagon that’s careened chaotically through the London restaurant scene of late, it’s all about small plates. If we had time we might whip up a thinkpiece pontificating on the popularity of small plates – is it because they’re Instagrammable? Quick enough to slake the fickle millennial attention span? Varied enough that there’s less pressure on decisiveness? Who knows. But whatever it is, they’re EVERYWHERE.
For our small plate starters, we went for sourdough bread with unfiltered olive oil and the deep fried raviolo they’re already becoming famous for. The olive oil was an immediate, fresh but savoury bite of rustic flavour, the raviolo hot and delicious, if slightly unremarkable – but deep fried pasta, as a luxurious idea, is certainly not to be sniffed at.
The main dishes, all recommended with enthusiastic flourish by Officina’s affable tattooed manager, all simmered with unexpectedly strong and brave flavours for pasta-orientated cuisine.
First to land was a salad dish – fried zucchini with mouthwatering burrata, the creamy temptress of the mozzarella family. This was followed by an extraordinarily al-dente cavatelli – tiny, mealworm-like pieces of gnocchi, wriggling with a punchy padron pepper sauce. Next, an creamy corzetti with wild mushrooms and a luxurious linguine with egg yolk, lemon and clams. The pièce-de-résistance was a cuttlefish dish so inspiringly maritime that it would have had Azealia Banks clanging down her fork and reaching for her seapunk scrapbook.
While at first glance Officina 00 could perhaps be mistaken for just another urbane East London eatery, if you dust off the top layer of parmesan it reveals itself to be far closer to what East London was famous for before the influx of trendy cafes and glass monoliths – somewhere imaginative, unpredictable and not afraid to take risks.
Officina 00 is at 156 Old Street, EC1V 9BW. Check out the full menu on their website.