Low, cosy lighting welcomes you when arriving at Paesan on Exmouth Market, before you are shown to your table by any number of friendly staff (we asked to be moved near to the window, and everyone was very accommodating). Our waiter for the evening, Michael, was that perfect balance of attentive, but not intrusive, answered all our questions about the new menu and advised us on which wine to select.
All the starters were tempting, but we eventually decided on the Burrata Affumicata, soft creamy burrata on a bed of seasonal mushrooms and the Scamorza Affumicata, melted smoked cheese topped with ham. I’ll be honest, I was expecting the mushrooms to be warm and was a little disappointed that they weren’t, but burrata more than made up for it – total melt in the mouth gorgeousness. The Scamorza was definitely on the rich side, and perfect for those looking for a hearty starter.
Whilst the polenta-dusted chicken with parma ham & fontina was tasty – the polenta gave it that extra crunch – pasta is the star of the show at Paesan, and there is plenty to choose from on the seasonal menu. I was torn between the linguine with swordfish, cherry tomatoes and mint or the Friday evening’s special, pappardelle alla vesuviana. Due to the appalling weather outside I went for the warming pappardelle dish, and it didn’t disappoint. Delicious flavours from the slow-cooked beef were complemented by the slightly al dente fresh pasta. The sides, market greens & chilli and hand-cut fries with truffle and parmesan were cooked to perfection, but we probably didn’t need both as the portion sizes are generous, and we struggled to finish everything.
However, dessert goes to a separate stomach right, so we happily ordered the tiramisu and flourless chocolate cake with cream as our sweet treats. Tiramisu is a favourite of mine, and so when it arrived in a tall glass, I was worried it wouldn’t live up to my high standards. However I needn’t have worried as it was delicious. The sponge was light and soaked in just the right amount of liqueur, whilst the coffee cream elevated it, I could have eaten it all over again. The chocolate cake was rich and thick – a little bit intense for me, but the cream proved to be the perfect accompaniment.
A great venue for everything from a romantic meal to bigger birthday gatherings, it delivers great food and atmospheric lighting, plus there is a bar downstairs where you can sample more of the drinks menu if you want don’t want the night to end – I’ll definitely be going back.
2 Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4PX