Cacio Later: We Visited The Spitalfields Restaurant Fronting Biodynamic Wines And Italian Plates

I’ve recently discovered a life hack: whenever you’re in need of a holiday, head to a restaurant that promises to transport you to the Italian coast and woo you with grilled meats instead. That’s what I did with Spitalfields-based Alfi anyway, and over the course of three hours, it scratched that itch.

Tucked away under the canopy of the renowned market, opposite the skeletons of jewellery stalls closing down, the restaurant sported a pretty outside seating area adorned with sea blue leather booths, adjacent to a wooden beach hut doubling up as the kitchen. First impressions told me this was an uplifting spot, with indie-pop hits playing on the radio while people got involved with its boules and darts offering.

Alfi Spitalfields Restaurant Review | DesignMyNight

Enjoy a taste of Italy at Alif, London.

The focus is on natural and biodynamic wines here, featuring a selection of classic styles from small growers as well as adventurous varietals. I opted for the recommended orange wine of the day, the Calcarius (£9.50 for a 175ml glass) and so did my dinner date; we were both delighted to find it had a refreshing aftertaste and was incredibly light and peachy.

From the shabby-chic shack came plates of grilled aubergine (£14), dissected in half and topped with gremolata and scoops of almond ricotta, and fennel sausages (£12) featuring soffritto atop grilled cabbage. Smoky would be an understatement, as these dishes were charred to perfection to the point I felt we could’ve easily been at a summer BBQ. The almond ricotta had a houmous-like texture to it, and uplifted the humble vegetable, drizzled in olive oil, with its tangy touch.

Alfi London Restaurant Review | DesignMyNight

Have a boule: there are games to have a crack at after your meal. 

I felt a little sorry that the sausages became overshadowed by the arrival of the cacio e pepe bucatini (£12). Silky ribbons of al dente pasta were tossed in a rich, peppery golden sauce that was incredibly rich and indulgent upon first bite. We enthusiastically kept spooning strands onto our plates, every now and then turning our attention to the fennel slaw (£5) that operated as a vinegary palate cleanser between bites of buttery goodness.

Before unleashing our non-existent competitive natures, we finished with a chocolate cake (£7) sporting a dainty scoop of vanilla ice cream for my dinner date, and a vanilla cheesecake (£7) topped with a layer of caramel for myself. This is where my only complaint would be, as I failed to find any crumbly biscuit base as much as dug through layers of cream with my spoon. Perhaps it was a fluke, but I left feeling a little robbed of my favourite component.

Alfie Wine Bar London Review | DesignMyNight

Wine them up and find your new favourite biodynamic tipple. 

We ended the night with a game of darts - a sport I’ve only ever played once on a date because it’s the perfect activity to get a few hip touches in and say stuff like ‘no, you do it like this’. This was not the case here (thankfully), as my friend and I joined in with the staff and played a hilarious round of around-the-clock until we eventually hit 20 and decided to call it a night.

The DesignMyNight Digest

I enjoyed my time at this delightful wine spot - the staff were very friendly and the food was fresh and authentic akin to the sort I would expect to find travelling around Italy. The Alfi Spitalfields restaurant menu was short and sweet, however my date and I found the portion sizes ambiguous. It was neither a small plates restaurant nor a three-course meal type of joint, given the fact the glistening plate of cacio e pepe was almost triple the size of the sausages (which we did not complain about). 

  💰 The damage: £76 for two, excluding service charge.

  📍  The location: 3 Crispin Pl, E1 6DW.

  👌 Perfect for: Catch-ups with friends.

 ⭐ Need to know: It's home to a boules pit and darts, perfect for some post-dinner fun.


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