Palatino, Stevie Parle, Clerkenwell, EC1

A couple of plates at Stevie Parle's latest opening in Clerkenwell are compelling enough to plan another visit, pronto. Housed in a building of shared serviced offices run by foraspace.com (Fora prefer 'pro-working' to 'co-working'), this corner site on Central Street - the 'no-mans land' between The Barbican and Old Street - has the feel of a neighbourhood joint you may find tucked away off The Bowery, in New York.

 

Riffing on the dishes and flavours of Rome, the menu reads like a beauty: saltimbocca; chicken, pancetta and pistachio meatballs; rigatoni with veal pajata; tonarelli cacio e pepe. Ravioli of spinach and squash are ruddy good, a generous portion for £8, excellent lurid green pasta: the amount of butter they wallow in is reassuring. Pillowy bites of gnocchi alla Romana with brown butter and sage deserve a 'high five' and have 'order again' written all over their Parmesan and sage strewn pucks. Bombolotti ragù 'Marcella', inspired by cookery writer Marcella Hazan, who effectively 'blueprinted' the correct way to make a ragù bolognese, is also safe in the hands of this River Café alumnus.

 

The open kitchen adds to the hubbub in the room which also serves as the entrance to the offices, plates of food being passed out for some kind of work 'do' or networking event going on the night I was there. The River Café begun life as the canteen for the architects next door –  not a bad precedent if the parallels begin to be drawn here. Next time, arrowing in on the saltimbocca... 

 

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