Stuffed Pasta, Aged Parmesan: This Small Restaurant Packs In Some Of The Best Of Parma
We were already smitten with the second restaurant from Food Roots, Via Emilia, which recently opened on Hoxton Square. And like its sister restaurant, there's nothing flashy about In Parma: 30 covers, a little cluster of pavement tables and a friendly buzz make up the entirety of the space. The narrow dining room is edged by a counter hung with cured meats and products from Emilia-Romagna, a sleek salami-slicer in pride of place.
Everything on the menu comes with a story: the anolini in brodo (small, curled ravioli in a rich chicken broth) is the same dish our waiter's grandmother used to make him when he was ill. 'This one should not be missed', our host tells us repeatedly, earnestly, about multiple dishes. If we ordered everything that shouldn't be missed, we'd be rolled out of the restaurant at midnight.
In Parma is clearly a passion project, albeit a passion that's also conjuring up a roaring trade. Several knobbly, grainy chunks of 36 month-aged Parmesan in, we're starting to feel pretty passionate about it ourselves.
While they do a short menu of hot food — and do it pretty brilliantly, as our lasagne and that anolini testify — it's the cheese, meat and wine that star. Homemade focaccia comes fluffy, oil-rich and still warm with a bowl of balsamic reduction thick as honey. Tables are laid with fojete bowls, rather than wine glasses, to drink Lambrusco the traditional way.
Prices are good, for food this lovingly sourced. Pasta dishes hover around £10, and you could dine solely (and splendidly) on your choice of three cheeses and three meats — chewy, rich salame Felino and silky lardo among them — and bowlfuls of bracingly dry, fizzy red for £20 a head. There are cheaper Italian dinners out there in London, but not enough of them are this good. We tear apart the still-warm focaccia, cut off chunks of nutty, crumbling cheese and drink our Lambrusco bowls cradled in two hands, like something precious.
In Parma, 10 Charlotte Place, W1T 1SH.
Last Updated 29 May 2018