Woah, there’s a lot of buzz around Pastaio. Their very well publicised soft launch has been rammed every day and this was no exception when we visited. They left a little note on the table when we arrived which stated that not everything is quite right yet which is why the food is 50% off. So take this review with a pinch of salt.
There have been comparisons drawn to Padella and aside from the fact they they both offer relatively cheap, fresh pasta, the two places feel very different from one another. Pastaio is almost exclusively shared tables, it is very bright and white and linear. The service was rushed, again, probably due to the soft launch and I don’t blame them for wanting to turn over tables quickly in this climate but it doesn’t make for a relaxed or leisurely dining experience. It felt a bit like a canteen. Good pasta yes, but in a canteen.
The two dishes I was most excited to try were omitted from the menu at our lunch – the Potato ravioli with gravy, egg yolk & white truffle and the Grouse, rabbit & pork agnoli. I bet they’re great. They sound great. The Cacio & Pepe was pleasant but a little on the dry side. Let’s get real here though, pasta – that’s right, any pasta – is rarely terrible. It’s also rarely elevated to exceptional. It’s good. Most pasta is good. Pastaio pasta is good.
Overall, this is an ideal spot for a quick bite when you’re done shopping on Oxford street and in need of sustenance. There’s space for a buggy or two at a push and there’s decent ambient noise to keep a baby asleep. If the service continues as it did during our visit, no one will mind/care if you bring your baby, no one will say much at all. They’re too busy for much in the way of pleasantries.
What’s good? The fried mozzarella, nduja & honey sandwich is a real treat and the slow cooked sausage sauce with malloredus is very good. They also do Prosecco slushies (!).
Kid friendly? Sure, why not.
✓baby change facilities
✓highchairs available – they’re the booster seat variety
✓cool with breastfeeding – I’m not sure if I’d want to here depending on where I was sat
✗loads of other parents
✓space for buggies – they can probably squeeze about 2 at the back