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Don’t Write Off Neighbourhood Fresh Pasta Restaurants Just Yet

Noci from Louis Korovilas, who worked at Bancone and Locanda Locatelli, will arrive on Islington Green

A plate of silk handkerchief pasta scattered with wild mushrooms, an egg yolk in the centre
Silk handkerchief pasta with wild mushrooms and egg yolk at Noci.

London’s love affair with dinky fresh pasta restaurants has not waned. On Friday 11 March, Louis Korovilas — of durum wheat darling Bancone and Michelin-starred institution Locanda Locatelli — will open Noci, on Islington Green. It’s serving a menu of fritti, Sicilian street food, and fresh pasta. Andiamo!

Korovilas’s current hero dish looks to be a plate of silk handkerchiefs, scattered with wild mushrooms with an egg yolk in the centre — though fans of the by-now familiar presentation will have to wait until autumn. His previous employer, Bancone, may be looking at it with a knowing eye.

“As in Italy, dishes will change with the seasons,” a feat for the entirely unseasoned country of England. Right now, expect a Genovese ragu, which involves veal, pork, and onions cooked down into a yielding snooze, topped not with Parmesan but Tête de Moine, a Swiss cheese. An open raviolo of herbed lamb shoulder sounds appealing, while the obligatory Roman cacio e pepe gets its time in the sun with brown butter, served over bigoli.

Spritzes — the essential counterpoint to fresh pasta in any self-respecting addition to London’s scene — will also be seasonal, promising pear and marjoram; spiced kumquat; sage and grapefruit; or pink peppercorn.

Not quite situated on Upper Street, possibly London’s weirdest, most transient restaurant strip, Noci will hope its proximity is a boon, rather than a curse. And for the city at large, its arrival is confirmation that in spring 2022, fresh pasta is still holding fast.