There’s plenty of Italian restaurants in London, but none quite like O’ver. A stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus, O’ver Restaurant offers up elegant interiors in a light, bright space – simple but stylish, marrying rustic and modern design elements with sleek lines, wall mirrors and banquette seating.
Meaning ‘truth’ in Neopolitan, O’ver prides itself on the finest ingredients, but is unique in its cooking techniques using seawater from the Mediterranean in its pizza dough, resulting in a subtle hint of saltiness but a delightful fluffiness and lightness due to the minerals in the water.
We start with a pecorino and walnut fig salad with a combo of sweet and nutty notes on fresh leaves. The melanzane parmigiana is much more hearty with luscious layers of aubergine, rich tomato sauce and mozzarella and parmesan cheese showcasing the essence of Southern Italian comfort food. There’s a good selection of wines and we go for an organic easy drinking red – the Valpolicella Classico Ripasso Antolini which is fresh and fruity.
For our main courses, we decide to try one pasta and one pizza – after all, after hearing so much about the pizza bases, it was only right we should try one first hand! After much deliberation, we choose the Salsiccia e Friarielli from the Neopolitan menu which is mini culinary tour of Italy on one plate bringing together ingredients from various regions including buffalo mozzarella from Sorrento and rich flavourful pork sausage from Tuscany. Made in the wood fired Neopolitan oven, ‘Neopolitan’ pizzas have to be made with San Marzano tomatoes which are sweet and pulpy with less water and seeds for an intense, juicy flavour. The dough definitely taste different to that of a normal pizza and the base, toppings and tomatoes make it stand out from the crowd.
Our pasta dish, with each carefully created tortelloni packed with ricotta cheese and lemon zest from Sorrento is bursting with citrussy goodness. The sauce is a yellow datterino, known for its sweetness and cooked down with parmesan. While the lemon could be a bit overpowering for some, I found it to be a really enjoyable dish.
Four simple desserts are sound very tempting, but we opt for the cannolo scomposto made with Sicilian ricotta cheese stuffed inside crunchy cannolo pastry tubes. It’s the perfect end to what feels like an authentic delve into Italian cuisine. Book your table at O’ver St. James’s here.