We have tried to get a table by just dropping by and didn’t have any luck so this time we booked online for lunch. Saturday lunchtime is not so busy and there were tables (inside and out) and counter service while we were around. This is a minimalist restaurant – a few photos on the walls and a bar along the wall. It is in the space that used to be Seven. It started in a market elsewhere and moved to Brixton in the summer. The website says that the pasta is made daily with Italian zero zero flour and all the sauces are made in- house and that fresh pasta goes better with butter based sauces and fillings (they say).
They have antipasti, pasta (all fresh of course) dolci (desserts) and even a kids meal section. We chose some foccacia and polpettine di melanzane con bagnacauda di peperoni (aubergine balls with pepper sauce). The foccacia was crispy and salty on the outside and came with olive oil and we wished we had had more to dip into. The aubergine was very good but mainly because the sauce was delicious – I want to know the recipe.
The black pasta with mussels was fantastic – salt might be added as the only salt is the anchovy in the sauce – but that is a little niggle.
We drank the house red and a blood orange San Pellegrino – water came from the tap. The food came to £32.75 and because i was not at all keen on the biscuit addition to the pasta, they offered a free dessert, but by that stage we were too full. We can’t remember what the drinks cost. We will be going back, but will choose wisely and check for potential sweet additions to the pasta mains.
Given the current Covid restriction of Tier 2, we are still having takeaways and were really pleased that Franzina Trattoria in Coldharbour Lane had click and collect, and delivery options. Despite it being relatively close, we still ordered through Deliveroo (Uber Eats also available). See our earlier eat-in review here.
This is a Sicilian restaurant and the menu consists of Piattini (small plates – you can actually buy the sicilian plates on the website), salads, fresh made tagliatelle with sauces and doci – puds. The Delivery menu is a little different to the eat-in version, but had plenty of options. For starters we chose Crocche – fried vegetable balls and caponata Siciliana. The menu promised two crocche each of three types – “potato, lemon, mint and basil. Aubergine, caciocavallo cheese and mint. Zucchini, pecorino cheese and basil”. The Caponata Siciliana is described as sweet and sour aubergine salad with tomatoes, nocellara olives, capers, celery and onions.
We ended up with eight crocche but there were only two sorts and, to be honest, it wasn’t clear to us which ones. One was just a chip and the other was pretty anonymous. So, these were a little disappointing. But this was definitely a starter in two halves, as the Caponata was fabulous. We could have eaten this by the bucket full and will definitely order again. It really does need some bread and luckily we had some, but next time we will also order some proper Italian bread with this meal.
This was followed by two types of pasta – Conchiglie con Salsiccia (described as conchiglie with with wild fennel sausage in a peppery tomoato sauce with pecorino cheese). Google describes the pasta as seashells. We also ordered Orecchiette al Pesto Trapanese (with fresh datterino tomatoes, basil, mint, pistachios, almonds, chili and lemon zest, topped with salty ricotta cheese). This pasta is sort of like little ears.
The Orecchiette were crunchy and spicy and a warm chili and nutty delight. The Conchiglie was also wonderful with a peppery warmth. The pictures shows them as quite distinct and they arrived not too steamed, so not al dente which pleased me as I’m not keen on any pasta crunch. However, we did have a lot leftover and microwaved it the next day. It was still wonderful to taste, but unfortunately over-cooked and we actually had a hard job distinguishing them. So our advice for the best experience is to wolf it all down in one sitting.
Finally – again eyes bigger than stomach moment – we ordered one portion of Baba al Masala con Panna. It was sweet and sticky, and we were glad that we only ordered one. We could have done with more “panna” and a little bit more marsala. But there was no crumb left at the end of the meal.
What did we think – we liked much of it, but not all (mainly the vegetable balls). That may be our fault. The best traveled dishes were the cold ones, but the pasta certainly managed the distance from their kitchen to our door without moving too far beyound the ‘al dente’ stage.
We are now beginning to understand the science of delivered food. Chips are soggy, no matter how brief the trip from the restaurant, unless of course they are the thin, very crispy type. Many dishes that were taken out of the oven just in time, arrive just a little overdone. We will definitely order from Franzina again with a very large serving of Caponata. Cost of the meal for two (with enough pasta leftovers for a meal the following day, but no alcohol) was £42, including Deliveroo fees and a tip for the rider.
UPDATE: We are now reliably informed that microwaving pasta is not the best way of reheating it – on top of the stove and lightly fry or put it in the oven.
Open everyday from 12.30 pm to 11 pm: except Tuesday 6-11 pm
This is a new restaurant that has relocated from Brixton Pop. It is now a real restaurant, but in a venue that has not had a good run of restaurants. They have all been pretty good (Calcutta Street, The Phoenix, etc.) but all have found it taxing and have moved on or closed. This new incarnation has just opened and we wish them well. The new decor is stripped back but happily it is light and airy. We were so pleased not to be turning on our camera torches to read the menu. This is a Sicilian style trattoria serving small plates and homemade pasta to eat in or take away. It’s the sort of restaurant where you would find Montalbano chatting to the waitress and discussing all the ingredients of an arancini. Continue reading →