Pastaio Has All Your Pre-Westfield Carb Loading Covered
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There's plenty to love about Pastaio's new branch in Westfield. Third of Pastaio's London string (along with Soho and Market Hall Oxford Circus), this is the one in the least probable and most welcome location. Westfield's still lower on decent food spots than it is on demand for them, so it's not a surprise that Pastaio's warm, colourful cavernous space on the Southern Terrace is packed to the gills on a weekday evening.
Pastaio's getting some things very, very right. Extensive vegan menu, ditto a gluten-free one. Good kids menu. Well-priced wine on tap, and by the carafe, with the house at £20 a bottle. Drinks are well-priced across the board, actually, with a solid digestive selection under a fiver, and an alluring and lethal-sounding Campari, gin and prosecco slushy for £6 a glass. Friendly staff, great tiramisu. And a loud, happy clatter coming from all corners: tables are packed in close together, but hey, if you were frightened of some light jostling you wouldn't be at Westfield at all.
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The menu's made up of hits and misses. Starters read fantastically on paper — featuring cheese poetry like burrata, pink radicchio and lemon; raw brussels, red cabbage, hazelnut and salted ricotta — but are less eventful IRL. The burrata's slightly stiff, and low on ooze; the pink radicchio's a garnish of three smallish leaves in (beautiful, punchy) oil, with the whole thing feeling a bit sparse. Same for the brussels, dominated by red cabbage and more of a pleasant side-slaw than a thing in its own right.
The pair next to us are faring better: no starters, three pastas between two, bottle of house white. This is absolutely what we'd do on any repeat visit — the egg yolk, butter and Parmesan tagliolini is exactly the dairy triple-threat it sounds like, deeply rich, elastically al dente. The crab spaghetti's a looker — black and white spaghetti, studded with chunky white crab, vivid with chilli flecks and rocket — but less punchy than it looks, hard to detect the bottarga or the chilli.
We medium regret not dabbling in the meatier, sausage ragu side of the menu, thanks to some plates being whisked past us that smell phenomenal. We could never regret saving room for the tiramisu, which was uncomplicatedly great.
So yeah, Pastaio's a mixed bag, but this is still easily one of the nicer places in the area for some restorative post-Westfield comfort food or pre-Westfield carb loading.
Pastaio, Unit 1032, Lower Southern Terrace, Westfield, W12 7GF.
Last Updated 09 March 2020