Everybody has that one item of go-to clothing. It’s comfortable. It makes you feel cool. It’s never spent six months at the bottom of that graveyard of dirty socks that you call a washing basket. Whether it’s a sentimental band tee or a pair of jeans with the perfect fit, it doesn’t matter - the point is this piece of clothing is your ride or die. It’s your knight in shining linen. And Officina 00 is the restaurant equivalent.
This handmade pasta spot near Old Street roundabout feels like it was dropped from the sky, fully-formed and full of regulars, by some kind of higher intelligence, one that has a great deal of respect for linguine. Although it hasn’t been a Shoreditch fixture for the past century, or even the past decade, it’s already the kind of restaurant that’s as lived-in and loved as your favourite pair of vintage 501s. Everything from the evening tea lights to the cool wooden chairs that look like the ones you inscribed your crush’s name into with a protractor at school, make this restaurant feel like home. But it’s not just the fact that Officina 00 is as casual as it is cool that makes it a restaurant you’ll go to time and again, it’s the food.
In case the person at the pasta station hand making your cavatelli like they’re crafting Venus Di Milo’s abs doesn’t give it away, they take their pasta seriously here. And while their tomato salad is pleasant, and the fried cacio e pepe ravioli snack will really appeal to the part of you that once considered deep-frying some sourdough, you’re really going to want to focus on those pastas. They serve a short, changing menu, and for every classic pappardelle with meatballs or squid ink linguine, you’ll find a bold parsley pesto covered pork genovese, or a comforting pumpkin gnocchi that somehow manages to remain subtle despite being packed full of gorgonzola. This place isn’t scared to get a little adventurous and that almost always pays off. It also means that with every visit, whether you’re settled in one of their surprisingly comfortable counter stools to listen to a podcast over a plate of £9.50 pici, or sharing a portion of cavatelli with a group, there’ll be something new on the menu to try.
All of this means that this restaurant is a keeper. But unlike your eight-year relationship that now centres around what’s on iPlayer, it’s still exciting. You probably wouldn’t have a business dinner here, but when it comes to pretty much any other conceivable meal time, it’s a good shout. And that’s the best thing about this place, just like that breton stripe tee that’s seen you through more dates than red wine, Officina 00 is always reliable.
We paid attention in at least 20% of our maths classes. And, well, we don’t mean to brag, but we’ve seen Good Will Hunting. Basically, when you can get a whole plate of excellent pasta for a tenner but one of these little cacio e pepe bites is £3, the numbers just don’t make sense. For us, it’s not worth it.
If this is on, order it. If it isn’t on, have a little weep, shake your first at the sky, and shout ‘why no raviolo, why’. Anyone here who has tried it will understand.
Cavatelli, Almond Pesto, Padron Peppers, Coppa
This casual, low-lift, plate of pasta will haunt you every single time you make a crap pesto pasta at home. The almond pesto is a real winner.
Squid Ink And Cuttlefish Tagliolini
We’ve had a couple of the seafood pastas at Officina 00 and both were lovely. The tagliolini here has a real spring to it, and twirling it is as satisfying as remembering to cancel a free trial before you get charged.
Pumpkin Gnocchi, Brown Butter, Sage, Gorgonzola
This gnocchi deserves one of those reality tv makeover scenes. You know the kind we mean: the slow motion walk, a profound monologue about ‘never feeling enough’, and some acoustic take on a Maroon 5 song in the background. This is gnocchi sexed up with a rich brown butter and gorgonzola, but still classic and comforting thanks to the pumpkin.
Pappardelle, Meatballs, Burrata
We’re entirely on board with any pasta that makes your standard spaghetti strand look like something a mouse should floss with. Excellent width, excellent length, excellent ragu. The burrata is just an added bonus.
Occhi, Braised Pork Genovese, Parsley Pesto
Congratulations to this elegant plate of occhi, you’re one of our all-time favourite pastas. You win nothing but our affection. In all honesty though, this braised pork genovese is next-level.
Lemon And Chocolate Profiteroles
The tiramisu here is fine, but if you want dessert, this is what you should be getting. Shout-out to the lemon profiterole for distracting us from our long standing love affair with chocolate desserts.