Inspired by the old sandwich shops and cafes of Milan, Latteria is the latest spot from Giuliano Lotto, the veteran restaurateur behind the launch of Il Baretto and Zafferano. Expect an all-day menu of Italian classics spanning breakfast, pastries, panini, pizzas and pastas in a casual but slinky setting: multi-coloured terrazzo floor, shiny red leather booths and deli goods stacked high on the shelves. If the weather’s good, watch the world go by on the outdoor tables while brunching and/or with Aperol Spritz in hand.
Shelves come simply stacked with the best in deli goods.
The relative quiet of Essex Road is a welcome respite to the chaos of the Upper Street party lads on a weekend, and Latteria is big enough so you won’t feel as sardined as you might in a more central London spot. We shared the cacio e pepe arancini (£4.90) as a starter - a hefty, deep-fried risotto ball filled with melting Pecorino Romano cheese and a vigorous grinding of black pepper. As any good arancini should be, it was savoury, rich and creamy to the point of stodge. Stick to the classics when it comes to the mains: a summery crab, courgette and lemon oil pasta (£11) was perfect for a balmy July evening but the pan-fried sea bass (£15) with mysteriously-named Mediterrean sauce was a bit of a let down.
Glorious pasta plates at Latteria.
Italians do it better when it comes to dessert and here Latteria really comes into its own. I really can’t remember a homemade tiramisu (£5) as spectacular and the sweet pizza (£6.50), which I’d usually swerve for want of something less faddy, is Latteria’s magnum opus. Oven-fresh dough is served with lashings of Nutella, ricotta, banana and finished off with a flourish of pistachio crumb - truly, gloriously buonissimo. All this was paired with a cracking bottle of Marco Bonfante Gavi di Gavi from Piedmont (£32) - crisp, dry and flinty with notes of lush honeydew.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Latteria is not out to reach the upper echelons of pasta fame with the likes of Locanda Locatelli. It’s your local N1 joint for friendly vibes and a no-judgement Italian fix of cheese, carbs and sweet, sweet pizza... and we loved every second of it.
For more brilliant pasta restaurants in London, check out our guide.