Where? At the eastern corner of the main piazza on Regent’s Place. Your nearest neighbours are the healthy fast food counter Pod and Drake & Morgan restaurant The Refinery (read our review here).
What? A cross between order-at-the-counter and something more lingery. The cafe is divided by a central partition and simple furniture adding a little atmosphere to the glass box interior. The ethos is home-cooked Italian food, with a back story about founder Francesca moving to London and trying to recreate the dishes she misses most.
Why? A well-priced short list of pasta options, such as kale pesto and carbonara, lasagne, soups, specials, mac ‘n’ cheese and market boxes, as well as piadina toasted sarnies. I opted for chicken ragu, which comes with a choice of penne or spaghetti. A large bowl is a good value £6.50, the penne al dente and the meaty hunks creamy, stirred with carrots, celery, onions andpeas. The lightly savoury sauce is a flavoursome, butterless béchamel. A small basic side salad, with leaves tomatoes and tangy dressing adds another £2.
Don’t: Bring a laptop. The Italian radio station blasting out of the speakers is presumably authentic but on our visit the stomping dance anthems were a little inconsistent with the ‘work’ ethos of Regent’s Place.
Notes: There are healthy soft drinks in cans – we had a sparkling pomegranate – as well as bottled beer. Have a coffee afterwards: the blend is a mix of Brazilian, Nicaraguan and El-Salvadorian beans, medium-roasted, and a handy accompaniment to the marble cake, orange loaf and Italian sweets, such as pistachio cannoli or white chocolate tartelle.