Top 3 London Lunch Spots Winter 2019

What do you get if you cross a couple of Italians with a Latin American? You get my picks of the best new lunch spots in London!

Terra Terra

Since launching on 3rd September Terra Terra has established itself as an experiential neighbourhood destination on the Finchley Road. Set across two floors, the all-day Italian restaurant offers mouthwatering hand-cut pasta that has to be sampled.

Inspired by the rural simplicity of Italian cooking, Terra Terra’s offering is centred on these artisanal creations. Using the purest Italian and seasonal British produce, their menu delivers progressive and simple dishes that celebrate the versatile and subtle ways the ingredients can be enjoyed.

The menu begins with a choice of chichetti’s, followed by a selection of small plates featuring beef carpaccio with crispy parmesan and the tuna crudo served with smoked aubergine and stracciatella. Also on offer are Terra Terra’s in-house pizzette and pasta creations.

Jodi Hinds Food Photographer London

The culinary mantra here is to locate the best organic produce that has been nurtured and cultivated by farmers and purveyors who share Terra Terra’s passion for quality. Two standout dishes that really highlight this statement are the bigoli pasta served with aglio, olio, peperoncino and clams, and the casarecce in lamb ragu and pangratatto. Both dishes are simple, yet wonderfully cooked. Rich without being overwhelming, hearty without being too much.

The subtle Italian tones of the decor compliment the flavours of the menu and bring to life the simplicity of rustic and honest Italian living. Couple this with fantastic staff service and time spent at Terra Terra is a welcoming, relaxing and memorable experience.

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In bustling Fitzrovia comes Crudo, a new casual dining concept bringing the vibrant flavours of Latin American ceviche to London. Crudo means raw and in this place you can either design your own ceviche bowls or choose from a menu of tantalising options.

Ceviche is a popular seafood dish originally hailing from Peru. Historians believe that the word itself comes from the Peruvian’s native culture Quechua, ‘Siwichi’ meaning ‘fresh fish’. Today though, ceviche can be found in a wide variety of Latin American cultures, each adding their own local twist to the famous dish.

In Crudo, you can get fast, on-the-go food that’s healthy and bursting with flavour. Plus, the lunchtime scene in Fitzrovia is hectic so it’s nice to get away from the crowd and head here; you’ll find them on Riding House Street.

The ‘Clasico’ bowl is the one I’d recommend. It’s a base of quinoa, topped with seabass marinated in a classic leche de tigre sauce and topped with sweet potato, Andean chilli, Peruvian toasted corn and plantain chips. They also have a Nikkei signature ceviche bowl as well as a vegan option featuring chickpeas.

Crudo is the first restaurant for the Venezuelan-born founders Carlos Socorro and Maria Yanez who were inspired by their time in Miami where they were surrounded by diverse South American cultures. Inspired to experiment with the concept, they saw London as the perfect fit for it and for that, we’re very grateful.

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Pasta Nostra

If you find yourself in east London then check out Pasta Nostra (which means ‘our pasta’) on Old Street, they offer freshly made pasta alongside traditional Italian eats. The restaurant is the brainchild of three friends following a series of successful masterclasses at Tooting Broadway Market!

Chef’s Wilfred Mafham and Luca Cianti, and manager Ian Krouwel all met when working alongside Michelin starred Chef Adam Byatt at Bistro Union. Twenty-four year old Wilfred has been in the kitchen since he was 11 and also held a position at Trinity, and Luca brings his expertise from Rome having worked at Pastaficio and at Restaurant ‘Ours’. With 20 years’ experience managing restaurants, Ian was the perfect fit to join the duo.

The menu is short, sweet and seasonal, with a sense of adventure in it, too. If you’re hungry and want a starter, try the braised ox cheek with mashed potato and puntarelle on the Autumn/Winter 19′ menu – that’ll definitely get your tastebuds going.

As for the mains, the tagliolini with black winter truffle and 24 month parmesan is nothing short of amazing. Incredible flavour in every mouthful, it’s both comforting and delicious. If you want something more traditional yet modern then I’d recommend the tortello carbonara, pecorino filled pasta, crispy cured pork cheek and zabaione. It’s simple, bold and sums up the creativity Pasta Nostra offers.

The restaurant is open plan with charismatic exposed beams and bricks allowing the focus to be solely on the heavenly food. The kitchen and team are fully exposed for everyone to enjoy the passion and energy the chefs exude when making their pasta from scratch. With an industrial feel, the décor is lifted with bold, bright colours and lush green plant life to create an inviting environment to indulge in delicious pasta. Boasting outdoor seating too, Pasta Nostra will surely be a hit in the warmer months as well.

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