Having worked at Locanda Locatelli and opened Bancone, Louis Korovilas certainly knows a thing or two about pasta and he’s showing it off at his brand new spot Noci (owned by the peeps behind Tavolino), now open in Islington. It’s an earthy and natural looking space with lots of sage green, terracotta and wood, and was already bustling just a few days after opening.
The menu takes inspo from Louis’ travels across Italy and the country’s regional specialties, starting with a short selection of small plates including fluffy foccacia with datterini tomato and caramelised onion, with a lovely peppery olive oil for dipping; saffron & nduja arancini on a creamy cheese sauce; and wafer thin slices of bresaola with star anise-dressed celeriac to cut through the meatiness of the beef.
Then it’s onto the main event and unsurprisingly for someone of Louis’ calibre, the pasta itself is fantastic. We shared three between two, which was pushing it a bit as the plates are large enough to have as a main course (the things we do in the name of research). The veal & pork Genovese ragu with paccheri was the star dish; the thick pasta tubes were nice and al dente, the ragu was rich, and it was finished with artful folds of Monk’s Head cheese that are scraped straight from the wheel at the table. The herbed lamb shoulder open ravoili, shreds of tender meat under a blanket of thin pasta sheets dressed with chive oil, was similarly decadent. The brown butter cacio e pepe bigoli promised so much but it was neither bigoli (they’d run out of this shape so what we got was more like a tagliatelle) nor was it cacio or pepe enough. We won’t deny that it was very tasty but it was more like a butter sauce without the punch of cheese or pepper we were expecting.
We didn’t really have room for a pudding after that carb fest but the words miso panna cotta and white balsamic were too good to pass up. Thankfully this was as flavourful as advertised, with the miso adding depth to the panna cotta offset by bitter chocolate and a seriously powerful balsamic gel.
Not only is the food at Noci genuinely great, it’s reasonably priced too – the house peach spritz is a fiver, negronis are six quid and the pasta plates are affordable,(they even offer ziti with pesto, tomato or parmesan & butter sauce for £7.50) – so we have no doubt it’s going to be one popular spot.
4 – 6 Islington Green, London, N1 2XA