Pasta lovers, rejoice. There’s a new kid in town that’s about to steal your hearts. Emilia’s in Aldgate opened in February and I was fortunate enough to visit recently to get my Italian carb fix. Some of you pasta afficionados may recognise the name and that’s because Emilia’s in St. Katharine Docks was the first launch and it did so well it’s allowed 27-year-old restaurateur Andrew Macleod to branch out his homemade fresh crafted pasta business.
Emilia’s was one of the first on the pasta trending scene, earning a reputation as one of the best pasta restaurants in London. Born and bred in West London, Andrew’s interest in bringing great Italian crafted pasta to the city was established when he made a pilgrimage across Italy. Following extensive visits to some of the country’s most famed regions, Andrew spent 18 months learning from local Italian chefs who extolled an extraordinary passion for cooking recipes passed down through the generations.
Emilia’s carbonara is an example of this. It’s my favourite pasta dish and I couldn’t wait to sample it. Emilia’s chefs make it the Northern Italian way using whole eggs to make it a little lighter. Pecorino is preferred to Parmesan, along with plenty of pancetta and black pepper. Emilia’s twist on the carbonara is to use bucatini pasta (think spaghetti with a hole going through the middle), which ensures the creamy sauce is distributed perfectly and captured in every mouthful. Take it from me, it’s sublime.
Emilia’s Aldgate is simple, yet effective. There’s a choice of seven pasta dishes, which Andrew (a self-confessed perfectionist) has fine-tuned himself to pay worthy homage to the original dishes from various regions in Italy, along with careful pairing of pasta shapes with sauces.
Signature dishes include their famed four hour slow-cooked Bolognese (stop it), made heartier and creamier with fresh béchamel, and casarecce pasta paired with a velvety walnut and chestnut mushroom sauce (oof). Emilia’s homemade basil pesto with casarecce is a nod to family tradition in Genoa – a heart-warming dish of pasta layered with pesto and filled to the brim with parmesan, considered by many as arguably the best in London.
In case you were wondering who Emilia is, the restaurant takes its name from the beautiful Emilia Romagna region of Italy. The new venue in Aldgate can cover 55, which feels like a countryside workshop in Italy. Talented craftsmen are making fresh pasta and Cotti D’italia terracotta tiles offset the earthy crafted rustic terracotta plastered walls, balanced with industrial black metal details and white carrara marble.
It’s vibrant, it’s welcoming and it’s downright authentic. West London might have Little Venice, but East London’s just gained Little Italy.
For more information visit www.emiliaspasta.com