Restaurant review: La Porchetta, Islington, N1

La Porchetta, Islington

La Porchetta, Islington - Credit: Archant

Tucked away among the chaos of eating options littering Upper Street, you can find some independents besides the many chains – some better than others.

Welcoming diners like old family friends and feeding them course upon course of fresh Italian delights, La Porchetta feels like grandma’s house – if grandma had a stylish, contemporary Italian restaurant with olives to die for.

The popular Islington haunt doesn’t disappoint with offerings from its new menu; the famous olives are huge, bright green, early-harvest wonders from Sicily, which the attentive staff will smother you with if you give them half a chance.

The wine selection was classic, with a tipple to suit any palate. On recommendation, we went with their crisp sauvignon blanc, a perfect complement to the oil-based dishes we were about to order.

On a busy evening, the staff swiftly produced their new gamberi alla griglia (grilled king prawns) and bruschetta di montagna, a mountain of freshly baked goat’s cheese on sourdough.

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The bruschetta was crunchy, light and, while not redefining the classic starter, proved a moreish way to begin. Equally, the garlicy king prawns provided a thoroughly native experience – though eating them with the shell, as our host prompted, was not easy.

Already on the full side, we turned to the hand-stretched pizza (tartufo) – crisp and packed with flavour, packed with porcini mushrooms and decadent white truffle oil – and chicken parmigiana, which, while garlicky, was complemented by the home-made pomodoro sauce. Starchy, smothered in cheese and requiring a good few hours on the treadmill, the parmigiana was worth it.

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But La Porchetta wasn’t done with us yet. Piling on a selection of their desserts, with profiteroles swamped in chocolate fondant and tiramisu providing whole new levels of decadence, the new menu just kept giving.

We rounded things off with traditional limoncello and a fresh Italian espresso.

La Porchetta is the place to go on Upper Street for a rustic Italian experience.

Alisha Rouse

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