Londonist asks that most pressing of daily concerns: where to go on your lunch break.
35-37 Theobalds Road WC1X 8SP
Average Lunch Price: £2.70 for one panzarotto
Rating: 8 out of 10
Londonist has a confession to make. Several weeks back, when we visited City Snacks for our first What’s for Lunch? review, we were actually planning to grab a quick bite a few doors down at Sfizio Café. Much to our surprise, the Italian patisserie was closed, boarded up and with no apparent sign of reopening. This closure was particularly saddening because, to best of our knowledge, Sfizio was the only place in town to get a proper panzarotto. Making the most of the situation, we were happy to discover City Snacks to offer a very good lunch. Oh well.
Panzarotti are the distant southern Italian cousins of the Cornish pasty, about the same size and with the same half moon shape. However, whereas the pasty is baked with a flaky crust, the slightly more decadent panzarotto is deep fried with a softer doughy shell. Filled with mozzarella, tomato sauce and perhaps another filling such as prosciutto or spinach, these monster-sized ravioli might be best described as a mix between a calzone and a jam-filled doughnut. Definitely not recommended for daily consumption, these heavy hitting, yet oh so delectable, gut bombs are worth the lunchtime indulgence every once in awhile, especially if you plan on skipping or having a late dinner.
Recently, we noticed Sfizio Café again open for business. So, we headed over to check things out and are happy to report that the café is still selling panzarotti. The only difference is that now the once cramped little café has a new, improved and twice as roomy dining area. As before the hiatus, the genuinely appreciative staff at Sfizio serve a full menu of Italian lunch options and pastries, which all look wonderful. But, if going for your first time, consider having one of the panzarotti (which can sell out fast!). These savory treats keep well too, and it’s not a bad idea to buy a few to throw in the freezer.
Photography by Tiki Chris © 2007