REVIEW: Emilia’s Pasta, St Katherine Docks
WHAT? Velvety soft pastas, lovingly made sauces and a romantic dockside setting, a short walk from Tower Hill.
WHY GO? For balmy nights by the water with great wine and comfort food that’ll nourish your soul. Sitting outside on a summer’s evening, right next to a fleet of small boats, it’s not hard to imagine you’re dining on the Italian riviera.
Emilia’s welcomes diners who laugh in the face of salad, enjoying every last morsel of slow-cooked meat, hand kneaded pasta and buttered ciabatta. Staff chat about new dishes and specials as customers mop up oils and pestos, discussing the perfect wine pairing or the temptation of a frozen Limoncello shot.
We start with burrata, served with toasted ciabatta and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (£6.50) and finely sliced bresaola (cured beef – £7.50), both refreshing on a warm May evening.
Huge fans of Trullo and Padella (oh, the beef shin ragu! THE BEEF SHIN RAGU!), we were sceptical of Emilia’s ability to match up (a recent visit to Hackney Wick’s Gotto Italian proved no contest) but their butter yellow, pillow soft carbs conjured heaven on a plate.
We opted for casarecce with homemade creamy walnut sauce with chestnut mushrooms (a lovely veggie option) and four hour slow cooked béchamel bolognese with grated parmesan, poured over a mound of pappardelle. Not too heavy, the hearty red sauce was close to perfect, the parmesan shavings folding in to create a deliciously thick covering.
The short menu offers just eight dishes, each done extremely well – you’ll find rigatoni with flaked yellowfin tuna fillet, peperoncino and freshly chopped parsley on homemade tomato sauce for £11.50, and handmade ravioli with organic lamb, parsley and parmesan in a light butter and sage sauce for £13.
Specials change regularly, and there’s a small choice of salad and greens (fine green beans with pesto were duly ordered, but we couldn’t help filling up on pasta).
The carb fest doesn’t end there – lemon cake with flaked almonds will finish things off for £6, but really hot evenings call for Affogato and perhaps a further digestif (hey, you’re on holiday in Italy, remember?).
If you can’t get out of London this summer, you could do much worse than a staycation starting off at this little gem.
DETAILS: Ivory House, St Katherine Docks, London E1W 1AT