Eat Here: Noci, Islington GreenBy Angelica Malin
Looking for a new local in North London? We have just the ticket. Discover Noci in Islington Green for the best pasta in town. Here’s what you need to know:
Noci is a new neighbourhood pasta restaurant overlooking Islington Green, which draws inspiration from ex-Bancone chef Louis Korovilas travels across Italy and the rich, regional specialties of the country. Formerly of Locatelli, head chef Louis’ menu has incredible pasta at its heart, with signature dishes including a Neapolitan Genovese ragu with veal, pork and onions, a herbed lamb shoulder ravioli and a brown butter cacio e pepe.
For lighter bites, a number of Sicilian street food snacks offer the perfect bite, including leek, taleggio, gorgonzola and walnut fritti and saffron and nduja arancini.
You just know the food here is going to be really good. We started with a selection of small plates; the Burrata with wild garlic leaves and hazelnut dressing is delicious, with creamy cheese and tangy garlic. The rare seared yellow fin tuna, fennel, blood orange & pomegranate salad is light and summery, the perfect dish for enjoying with a peach spritz in their al fresco dining space. Also, their homemade focaccia is a thing of real beauty.
Now, let’s talk pasta. The pasta is the real star-of-the-show here, with pasta made fresh daily in their kitchen. The brown butter cacio e pepe with homemade ziti is a stand-out dish – thick noodles of pasta with a delicious, creamy cheese sauce and peppery notes. It’s incredibly decadent and totally moreish.
The Instagram-worthy spring silk handkerchiefs with walnuts, asparagus, wild garlic & confit Burford brown egg yolk is the kind of thing you’d expect from an ex-Bancone chef and it’s good enough to eat, not just for the ‘gram. Although my personal favourite was a simple classic – confit datterini tomatoes with ricotta and gnocchetti. I’ve never met a tomato gnocchi I haven’t liked and this one is particularly good.
For a sweet treat, round out your meal with desserts including a miso panacotta with bitter chocolate and white balsamic or a creamy gianduja chocolate and hazelnut budino. We got carried away by the pasta choices so didn’t opt for dessert, but the chocolate budino looks fantastic.
Do as the Italians do and pair your meal with a drink – enjoy Noci’s line up of seasonal spritz, with flavours such as pear and marjoram, spiced kumquat and sage or grapefruit and pink peppercorn, available from £5. There’s also cocktails on tap, including a great Espresso Martini. They’ve also got a decent wine list, with a good selection of Italian and French wines.
We loved Noci in Islington Green – it’s informal, laid-back and delicious. The food is very special, the cocktails are innovative and the service is great. All in all, a great addition to the area and we have no doubt this restaurant is going to do very well indeed.