Angel has finally landed its first fresh pasta restaurant – it’s called Noci, meaning ‘walnut’ in Italian.
Which is nuts.
Mostly because it’s taken this long for one of London’s most buzzing neighbourhoods to finally dip its ladle into the fresh pasta scene. Sure, there are fresh pasta places in its orbit – most notably Trullo – but, up until this point, the humming restaurant nucleus had been left sadly bereft.
Fortunately all that has changed thanks to the arrival of Noci. It’s the work of chef Louis Korovilas, whose carby CV is almost unrivalled – he was taught by Giorgio Locatelli himself, before becoming head chef at the excellent Bancone, and the equally lovely pasta palace, Tavolino.
The space he’s put together is just off Upper Street, next to Islington Green. You’ll notice it thanks to the warm glow seeping from the inside out. It’s the epitome of a neighbourhood restaurant, not least because of the calming, slightly Scandi styling but also because of the staff. You’re greeted from the moment you walk in the door by kind, smiling faces wishing you all sorts of well in back-to-back Italian-English. ‘Buona sera signora. Good evening madame. Buon appetito. Enjoy your meal.’ It’s like the Duolingo lesson you never knew you needed and quickly you find yourself checking your diary for when might work for lesson two.
Sit down at your table and you’ll be quickly offered a drink – one of a handful of classic Italian cocktails, or their house-made seasonal spritz. Pear & marjoram; spiced kumquat & sage; or grapefruit, pink peppercorn & thyme, what’s on offer will vary depending on the time of the year, however they’re all made using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and start at just a fiver. If cocktails aren’t your thing then they also have an exclusively Italian wine list to choose from – a mix of traditional and natural wines, by both the glass and the bottle.
As for the food, things are broken down into three parts. There’s a selection of Sicilian street food snacks to start, then it’s pasta, and finally dessert. Stand out dishes include the arancini (small, crispy balls stuffed full of spicy ‘nduja, with a creamy pecorino and parmesan sauce); the ragu (topped with a flower of Monk’s head cheese); the herbed lamb shoulder ravioli (drizzled in bright green chive oil) and the whipped dark chocolate gelato (sprinkled with crunchy pieces of frosted pistachios with candied kumquats for an extra burst of sweet).
NOTE: Noci is open for lunch and dinner all week. For more information or to book, visit their website HERE.
Noci | 4 – 6 Islington Green, N1 2XA
If reading this made you hungry… just pop down to one of London’s best fresh pasta joints.