Italian restaurant ‘Passo’ is known for its romantic ambience that had me conjuring up images of recreating the famous spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp.* Failing to find a date, I resorted to taking my sister, meaning romance was off the cards and the likelihood of squabbling over spaghetti was very much on.
Old Street Station is stressful. There are around 5-billion exits and, despite the fact that I’ve been living in London for almost three years, I still manage to choose the wrong one every time. If you’re lucky, you’ll strike gold and find yourself on the doorstep of ‘Passo’.
High ceilings, sleek oak tables and soft lighting make up the interior, which gives off a cool sexiness that pretty much sums up the whole of Shoreditch. The only thing detracting from this sexiness is the music which was brash and bar-like but hey, there’s nothing like shouting sweet nothings into your lover’s ear, right?
Like the mediocre guy at school who you fell for after discovering he owned a pug, London restaurants have caught on to the fact that having a terrace will make them at least 90% more attractive. Oh, you sell nothing but tap water but you have some cushioned seats outside? Sold! Passo is no exception and on a hot day you can sit outside and enjoy your pizza in the sun.
Not that pizza is the only selling point. We had a hard time choosing what to order from the menu, not for lack of choice but because everything sounded so good. Our lovely host Martha was hilarious, witty and gave some great recommendations (try the gin cocktails!). I’d never actually heard
of – let alone tried – malfatti before. It’s basically warm cooked spinach-y goodness smothered in tomato sauce, and it might just be my new favourite Italian dish. I never thought I’d describe spinach as being melt-in-your-mouth good, but here we are. The kale grapefruit salad is easily forgotten in comparison but their crispy calamari and their burrata won points with us both.
We decided to share pizza and pasta which works because we’re sisters and are completely comfortable with the idea of calling each other out for taking the best slices. Their mushroom pizza tasted fresh, non-greasy and has the perfect crunch/chew balance of base. The mussel linguine was just as good and I would happily eat it every day for the rest of my life.
My sister claims she isn’t into dessert. I claim she isn’t my biological sister. Somehow I convinced her to share a pudding ‘in the name of the review!!!’ which was surprisingly effective. Now, I amn’t one for the whole deconstructed food trend but when it comes to oreos I will make an exception. Passo’s take on what looked like an oreo explosion on a plate tasted just as good as it sounds. Even my sister scoffed down her half, although that could have just been to spite me.
Final verdict? I’m not sure that you’re going to see ‘Passo’ as the next ‘First Dates’ restaurant any time soon, but it’s the perfect place to catch up with friends around Old Street, eat some delicious Italian food and hey – if you visit this summer you too can become a terrace loving aperol spritzer (did I really just say this?).
*Film gods if you’re reading, I think it’s time for a live action remake