Last week, the editorial team from Italian Kingdom met face-to-face for the first time. In a pang of Italian food nostalgia, we couldn’t help but choose L’Anima, one of London’s best and classiest Italian restaurants.Â Needless to say that it passed the Italian authenticity test.Â In between the City and Shoreditch and right next to The Queen of Hoxton, L’Anima CafÃ© doesn’t only have an enviable location: you only need to set foot inside the restaurant to realise the whole place keepsÂ class to heart. L’Anima CafÃ©’s modernly designed interiors, grey and brown decor and flawless bar will make you feel miles away from the loud Shoreditch crowd of party-goers.
The food itself is made with the craft all Italians abroad miss and crave. The set menu theÂ restaurant set up forÂ us gave us a taste of what eating atL’Anima CafÃ© feels like.Â The menu – designed by Head Chef Chef Luca Terraneo and maestro pizzaiolo Giuseppe Cafaro – is inspired by the Southern Italian cuisine from Sardinia, Sicily, Puglia and Calabria featuring dishes such as Pasta Straccio ai Frutti di Mare (Seafood Baked Pasta), Impepata di Cozze e Vongole (Steamed Cornish Mussels, Clams, Basil Sauce) and Pizza Provatura e Broccoli (mozzarella, Calabrian Sausage, broccoli, Grana Padano).
We couldÂ choose our beverage among craft beer, red or white wine and soft drinks. The wines – a Sangiovese red and a Trebbiano white, both from the Marche region – were great enough to stand up to the Italian tradition. Most of us however went for the Menabrea Lager craft beer, a refreshing, sparkly treat perfect to accompany our pizzas.
Right before our main dish, the team had us taste their bread and grissini with tasty pepper, artichoke pesto and aubergine dips, the perfect starter.Â For the main, most of us chose the incredibly tempting pizzas that kept coming out of the kitchen. I went for the Siciliana, with aubergines, Grana Padano and ricotta, a delicious and carb-heavy version of the Aubergine Parmigiana every mamma makes. I loved it so much I would have easily hadÂ another one if it wasn’t for my diet!
The only boys in the team preferred the spicy Nduja, with tomato, mozzarella, spicy salami, Nâ€™Duja and watercress. Perfectly accompanied by the craft beer, the Nduja wouldn’tÂ disappoint any Southern Italian.
A tradition of every seaside Italian town, some of us chose the pasta con le vongole and bottarga, a perfectly executed classic. Tasting so good it felt home-made, the spaghetti and the vongole were delicate and a great matchÂ withÂ the flawless white wine.
If you’re in doubt on which Italian restaurant to choose for either a date or a classy dinner – or, to be honest, just for tasting some of the best pizzas in London and Italy together – look no further than L’Anima CafÃ©. It has Italian Kingdom’s seal of approval.
Pictures: Carolina Are
For the Italian version of this article, please check Italian Kingdom.