Tuesday, 19 March 2013

La Rugoletta: A Proper Old-School Italian

I have been vocal in my love for Ciao Bella, a little Italian in Bloomsbury, which is one of my favourite places in London - exactly what a proper old-fashioned Italian should be like. It doesn't pander to any current (or otherwise) trends and it doesn't try whatsoever to be cool. And this is exactly what La Rugoletta is like. 

La Rugoletta has a bit of a peculiar interior, with the food prep area and glass-fronted cabinet being visible, like a cafe sort of set-up, but it makes the experience all the more old-school. The lighting isn't the most flattering but it's still sort of romantic - it's still somewhere appropriate for a date. The tiny room somehow packs in about ten tables - there is, admittedly, not a lot of room to move around but that fact can be charmingly overlooked by the fact that it makes the room more cosy. 

It's not going to win any prizes for inventive menu design or attractive glassware or crockery, but La Rugoletta is the real deal, and a totally refreshing change from all of the zeitgeisty places that are opening up seemingly by the day. It is family-run, has no pretensions and best of all, it's cheap! Furthermore, because they don't have a license, they can't sell alcohol so you can bring your own wine. Corkage charge is minimal (about £2, I think).

We kicked things off with a hefty portion of salami, bread, olives and bruschetta. Bizarrely, oil and balsamic vinegar, and olives, were served in large tumblers. Then, onto main courses. Tagliatelle with scallops, mushroom and white wine sauce was light and (perhaps a bit too light on the miniscule scallops, though). The tagliatelle was gloriously wide and the mushrooms unlike the little slugs you so often find when they're cooked, and though I couldn't finish it, I made a valiant effort.

We staggered out of the door after paying a £45 bill for three of us, happy and full. If you decide to make the trek (it's always a trek if it's outside Central London or East Dulwich), make sure you book (you can actually book!) as it's tiny and even on a Wednesday that far out, there's often a queue. And it't not even a trendy American 4-hour burger pop-up.

59 Church Lane, London, N2 8DR
020 8815 1743

La Rugoletta on Urbanspoon

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