When I say I am sometimes a very lucky girl, I include the premise of being able to call Gino D'acampo a good friend. Loved by the nation and beyond, he's a celebrity chef who is just as good in 'business mode' as he is in the kitchen.I caught up with him for a lunch time coffee and nibble at his newly opened Pasta Bar, Fleet Street. As I slid in through the glass doors, I arrived at prime 'lunchtime' hour and the venue was packed out. People in the queue, people waiting for their order and the sporadically seated couples sitting down to feast. You could tell its reputation had already spread to those in the vicinity.
The idea behind the Pasta Bar, Gino tells me, is "to offer freshly cooked great tasting pasta dishes in a 'fast food' style for those on the go. This bar is the first created of many more to come, with plans for one being opened around March 2014 at Lakeside Shopping Mall. I eventually want 30 or 40 bars open across the country, creating a chain of Pasta Bars providing delicious fast quick meals". He's got ambition and it clearly pays off, the 40-43 Fleet Street Pasta Bar is thriving. Serving authentic Italian cuisine to the diner on the go, the Pasta Bar is the epitome of 'Italian'. I'd expect nothing less from Gino! With a mixture of every kind of pasta you can think of and homemade sauces for the meat lover and the veggie, the dishes can be accompanied by salads, antipasti, pastries and specialty bread.
The dishes are prepared by the on-site Chefs in under two minutes, provided in delightful cardboard boxes and served in ample portions; you'll 100% finish it full. Nothing worse than having a lunch that leaves you hungry by 3pm! That's when we all hit the coffee and chocolate. I opted for the veggie Tortellini Spinach and Ricotta option, and it was DELICIOUS. I'm not just saying that – Gino knows full well if I thought his food was shit I'd say so! Gino is a big fan of pasta cooked al dente, and I usually over-cook mine so it's really soft, leaving me thinking his version was going to be chewy to bite. Actually, it was cooked to perfection. I almost want to find a fault to piss him off, but alas, I can't. It was superb. The dishes can come with mini tubs of parmesan and olive oil to take away too, so you can really go the whole way with the 'Italian' experience. Did I forget to mention the Latte that I was also treated to? Yeah...bloody delightful too.
Would I go back again? Of course. Aside from getting to hang out with D'acampo again, I'd go just for the food. Sod you Gino! If it were closer to my office I'm positive I'd be a regular. Although saying that...that's a lot of carbs. I'd end up a stone heavier probably...and I'd hold you entirely responsible Gino!
Check it out for yourselves: 40-43 Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 1BT. They also deliver now too for breakfast, lunch and dinner, for enquires call: 0207 583 8534 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.