Italo-centric Foodies/Non Foodies: People who want a taste of some pretty authentic Italian faire
Hungry people: People who want a hearty meal/portions that will satisfy food cravings with a hearty combination of monounsaturated fats, wheat flour and meaty sauces. If that doesn’t work for you, come any way and go run a marathon afterwards or something…
Italian expats: or displaced Italian tourists who’re confused by all the food on offer in London
Pasta/Spaghetti Connoisseurs: Looking for new shapes, interpretations and flavours of pasta and spaghetti to ‘connoisseurify’
Non dieters: who are not afraid of carbs. Or olive oil. Or more carbs. Or gluten. Or wine. Yay, wine!
I came, I saw, I conquered. I would come back.
So, Spaghetti House has been in London for a looong time, their first opening being in Goodge Street back in 1955. This means they’ve had almost six decades to get their head around serving a dining experience that centres around Italian food, and they seem to have got pretty far with the formula.
They’re also family owned (second generation), and so, if anything these have demonstrated their quality by surviving cutthroat world of running a restaurant in the West End (or anywhere for that matter, AMIRITE?)
The cuisine here is all recognisable to the regular British person, though the names might not be – unless you’re really good at remembering what foods are in Italian. Or you just speak Italian (I do neither)
Olive oil is liberally applied, as well it should be, and the place has that almost quaint Pizzeria feel which makes me think of that scene in Lady and The Tramp in which the dogs eat spaghetti together. Yeah, I got all the Disney references ‘n shit…
Spaghetti House seem to have super easygoing dining environment down quite well (sans the over fed stray dogs chomping down on meatballs). You can gauge this by how staff react to a strange looking man wandering around with an SLR camera (me again). Spaghetti House are, as far as I can recall, the first place in which staff have asked me to photograph them, pushing that friendly Italian stereotype to entire new and ballsy heights.
Before visiting these fine purveyors of spaghetti, I felt that the pace would be a bit ‘chainey’ (Dick Cheney?) – but here they have managed to do that thing where they’ve either avoided being ‘too slick’ or are just so goddamn slick you can’t tell. Either way, shut up and order a steak already.
Does not disappoint. But when have the Italians ever disappointed when it comes to food? Maybe they’ve disappointed you at some point, but never me. Oh no. Not now, not ever.
I would also like to point out that I managed to get olive oil on my lenscap, which is truly the authentic Italian food photography experience. I don’t even know how it got there. Legit.
Splitting a meal between the two of us, here’s what we had…
Gamberone e Fregola – (sautéed king prawns, spicy n’duja sausage, fregola & chopped wild rocket)
When I ordered this I was being stupid (well, more stupid than normal). When it arrived, I first thought it was some kind of sweetcorn (which shows you how much I know about antipasti/pasta). Much as I like sweetcorn, this has way more calories and olive oil. Which means it tastes better, especially when there’s seafood and sausage hidden under there (you can’t see in the picture)
Salmone Insalate – (roast Loch Duart salmon, fregola, Sicilian lemon, trevisse, cucumber, chilli, & soft herbs)
Caprese – (bufala mozzarella, heritage tomatoes, pesto, extra virgin olive oil & natural sea salt)
Bistecca D’AGnello Al Rosmario – (lamb chop with fennel, rosemary sautéed potatoes and asparagus)
This lamb was the special of the day (and it was a special day don’t know?). It was also highly not photogenic (yeah… it was actually that colour). It was OK – not great. I have yet to find anyone who fails with lamb.
This is where some of the communication breakdown played out. They served it ‘medium’, or some variation of. One thing I did like was how they cooked it til you could scoop the marrow out (delicious marrow). I think I may have enjoyed it more if it were served rarer BUT I WILL NEVER KNOW FOR SURE 🙁
Steak (I can’t even fine a description of this on the menu…)
I can’t rate this because my +1 ordered it ‘well done’, so there is no objective standard to (I always opt for blue). But, I can say that it was served with the best spinach I’ve ever had. Seriously, it’s so weird. Like some kind of bizarre, salty spinach flavour that basically tsunamis right over your tastebuds.
I have no idea what they did to make it do that but if I could find the recipe I might try and open my very own spinach centric diner. I would call it ‘Spinach House’ and would be arbuptly sued by angry Italian men in suits…
Spaghetti House is damn good fun, despite the odd communication breakdown (which I suppose is to be expected with people who have Mario & Luigi grade Italian accents).
They are way too heavy however on the gluten and carbs, if you exclude all of that stuff the menu is somewhat limited. It’s not paleo, not vegan, not Halal, probably not very vegetarian and definitely not fruitarian. But it’s Italian, very Italian indeed, and really – what were you expecting?
PS: They also offer a Nutella Pizza (!!!!!!!!!), which I would return for, and eat in it’s entirety all on my own, alone in the corner, where nobody could see it. Legit.
PPS: Notice how I didn’t even eat any Spaghetti? IRONY: TOP SCORE