Passo London, a one week pop-up and the impeccable pizza of Nancy Silverton…

Nancy Silverton. Californian, chef, baker, restaurateur, author and, oh yeah, casual pizza legend.

I have a teeny, tiny, giant, supersized girl crush on this funky, talented, smart, warm woman which began with her ‘Chef’s Table’ episode on Netflix and was firmly assured after lunch last Friday at her one-week pop-up in Passo, one of London’s loveliest Italian restaurants just off the Old St roundabout.

Beautifully shaded in a palette of nudes that Bobbi Brown herself would be proud to out her name to, this is a vast dining room but one that feels delightfully intimate thanks to the cosy bar, the varied table sizes, the honeyed caramel décor accents and the warm daylight that streams in through floor to ceiling windows at the back. Staff are friendly & welcoming, happy to chat and eager to ensure your time there is a good one plus there’s a buzz through the space that was apparent as both a gentle murmuring at the start of service and then a fully obvious delivery of all-out good times once every table was full.

Silverton, dough master & all round exceptional culinary talent, was visible during our lunch on the last day of a residency that saw 900+ covers make their way through the restaurant in a week and her touch was apparent in every dish that emerged from the open plan kitchen.

*Sidenote, whilst waiting for my friend to arrive, I may or may not have texted that I could ‘see Nancy on the pass’, thereby forever cementing my place as a total geek on the food landscape in which I live…judge me not dear reader, you too dwell there or you wouldn’t be reading this.

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Losing my heart to Morito…

Morito made me love aubergine.

Normally I’m all about personal accountability but I swear on this occasion, it’s totally, completely & utterly their fault. Never really liked it before but the way they do it here in the little sister of Clerkenwell stalwart Moro? Well let’s just say the aubergine and I have a lot of lost time to make up for.

There are so many things I loved about this new girl on Hackney Road but I have to start with the biggest & most important in my mind, and the fact that there’s now something else in the world for me to devour with passion is pretty significant to me.

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As a Tube devotee who balks at the first world problem of finding overground stations near my final destination, I wouldn’t say this is the easiest place in the world to get to but I swear on all that is good and delicious – yes, I am talking about those aubergines again – that it’s absolutely worth it.

I expected more tables given the generous size of the open plan dining room however the kitchen and bar area take up a fair portion so unless you’re super lucky or arrive as the door is being opened, chances are you may have to wait for a little bit…try not to ogle the meals of those lucky enough to be chowing down already while you do so but if you’re successful, please, let me know how the heck you managed it.

The Wednesday night we arrived heralded two seats in the window by the door almost instantly, perfect for people watching, a bit more challenging plate wise given that we ordered enough food to feed every participating country of the upcoming Olympic games.

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A perfectly sized menu lists a good number of options under each heading and at just £14.50 for the most expensive plate on offer, this is a great place to come with a group of your greediest friends to share both the dishes & the bill; I hate hearing that somewhere new & exciting has opened up only to discover that I can’t afford to enjoy it and the accessibility of Morito’s prices warrants another nod of approval from those not on a fat cat, city banker salary.

Easing my stomach in gently heralded winners including a plate of pan con tomate with jamon – warm & soft with the sun soaked flavours of the Med spilling out with each bite – and a beautifully varied bread basket.

‘I’m sorry, I’m not eating bread’ confessed my dining buddy.

‘I’m not sorry in the slightest’, I retorted as I tore apart piece after piece with the sort of voracity that might lead you to conclude I was carb-loading for the London Marathon.

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Pop your cork with absolute pleasure at Trufflesecco…

Prosecco. Truffles. Two things that have worked really rather well for our neighbours in the valleys of France & the forests of Italy over the past several hundred years and which I’m delighted to report are working equally well for the good folk of Camden town and beyond.

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Billing itself as a place in which ‘to celebrate everyday life in style with a glass of bubbles and a bite of truffles’ and inspired by a trip to the heart-stoppingly beautiful Florence, this newly opened bar on Camden High Street is the perfect place to go with colleagues on a Friday night, girlfriends on a Saturday afternoon or the one you love on a Sunday lunchtime.

Smaller inside than a spot of pressing your nose up against the windows outside might suggest, the interior is darkly lit with a burnished rose gold glow casting everything into bewitchingly intimate shadow; bulbs and vines twist down from the ceiling and row upon row of gleaming glass flutes hang at the ready, impatiently waiting to be filled with chilled golden bubbles.

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A row of stools at the bar make the perfect perch on which to nibble at a sharing platter while chairs at old wooden tables are practically begging for a first date to be sat round them. FYI, you would definitely enter the dating hall of fame if you brought someone here in the first round or two…

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Staff are kind, convivial and passionate about their wares with a menu that beautifully marries cheeses and meats together in a style that makes you long to run away to the continent and spend your time dining in a very Audrey Hepburn-Sophia Loren sort of way. Mortadella with pistachio and burrato with ribbon thin fragments of fresh truffle are especially dreamy and the platters are generous enough for two to split the cost but maybe not the entire contents of; the tallegio cheese dear readers, is worth fighting for every last crumb of.

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As the venue for a leaving do, it was a gorgeous send-off for a gorgeous lady. As the place for summer feasting, it will be every woman for herself to secure a seat at the bar and a heavenly sounding Bellini Popsicle. The sound of corks popping is an unbeatable way of lifting your mood…long may they continue at Trufflesecco.