Officina is all about complimenting a handful of fresh, authentic pasta dishes with starters, sides and a couple of knock-out mains. It’s the creation of Elia Sebregondi and Enzo Mirto, who have risen through the ranks of Roka and Kiln before spearheading their own Neapolitan-inspired venue.
The cool and eclectic outpost in Shoreditch Old Street quickly made a name for itself among the East’s competitive food offerings. Officina Fitzrovia followed when it opened in November last year, serving refined and regionally-inspired plates alongside perfectly-paired pasta dishes.
Co-Founder & Director of Officina 00, Enzo Mirto, says of this new outpost: “ There was a lot of curiosity from our regulars and the new customers, people have loved it.”
You know that pasta is taken very seriously here by the large spianatoia – a traditional wooden workbench that absorbs the humidity of the pasta, giving a unique texture that helps the sauce stick.
Officina is Italian for ‘workshop’ or ‘lab’, and the 00 refers to the finest grade flour they use for creating their delicate and detailed pasta shapes and sizes, impressing even the most traditional nonna’s out there. You can also watch your pasta get kneaded, rolled and shaped before it’s prepared in the open-plan kitchen and plated with precision.
The brand likes to control as much of the supply chain as possible, using its own fully-traceable pasta flour specially milled in England, making it a far more sustainable option.
Enzo adds: “It is very important so we can always improve our product, but most of all create new things following our vision and having dishes on the menu that feel true to Officina 00.”
The plates are small and designed to be shared, including the pasta dishes, a step away from tradition. But as someone who often tends to get food envy, I embraced the sharing plate concept.
We headed to the Whitfield Street location on Mother’s Day, so it was a little busier than the usual Sunday lunch, with no spare table in sight. The decor features surfaces rendered in steel and wood whilst maintaining the signature colour palette of charcoal and bottle green while there is beautiful wrap-around seating along the outside circumference of the restaurant, looking directly out onto the street, creating the perfect nook for one.
The five-course lunch set menu is £39 per person, which we thought was competitive, as it spanned a two-hour (ish) hour seating with the seasonal menu including two snacks, a starter, pasta and dessert, and while the snack plates were bite-size, by the end, it was a good amount of carbohydrates.
The highlight of the show was, as you’d expect, the pasta and the baked gnocchi with smoked mozzarella, tomato and basil did not disappoint. The freshness and quality of the ingredients were undeniable, transforming a simple classic into a showstopper (extra parmesan, of course).
The house pork and fennel sausage roll with aubergine caponata had a harmonious balance of flakey and zesty, while the snacks were little flavour explosions in your mouth.
We finished with an Italian doughnut stuffed with dark chocolate and orange custard, which was nice but quite heavy after a few rich courses.
We did manage to lighten up the palette with Italian Spritz (the Italians sure know how to make a damn good one) and a delicious 2021 glass of the Italian Pinot Grigio. The Ponte del Diavolo is a bright lemon colour, with good acidity on the palate and intense fruitiness, helping counterpoint the rich tomato gnocchi. But there are around 12 Italian reds, whites and sparkling wines to choose from.
House cocktails reference Italian classics – with bartenders serving the likes of negroni, a limoncello martini and cold brew espresso martini (can personally vouch for), and an Italo-inspired margarita.
Officina 00 Fitzrovia is opened seven days a week, at both its Old Street and Fitzrovia locations.