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La Nonna Brixton: Inspired by Grandma’s Honest Cooking

La Nonna brings artisan crafted plates and uncomplicated Italian cooking to Brixton’s Market Row…

Photo: La Nonna

London’s love affair with Italian cuisine is long-held, however many of the newest additions to the capital’s food scene seem more focused on interiors rather than food.

While Insta-famous restaurants gain mass traction on social media, I often find the menus are too ambitious and the food is mass produced – a far cry from the neighbourhood trattorias of Italy.

This couldn’t be less true for La Nonna, the humble new Italian restaurant that pasta lovers everywhere need to try in 2022.  

La Nonna was created with authenticity in mind. Priding themselves on uncomplicated and honest cooking, the menu has been inspired by founder and chef Daniele Pino’s grandmother (otherwise known as Nonna), with the team reworking her original recipes in a bid to ‘create the freshest pasta dishes which symbolise tradition and the love of a Nonna’.

Although she may not be present in the restaurant, you’ll see pictures of Nonna scattered across the walls, and her influence in the food being served.

The story of La Nonna began in 2018, when life-long friends Daniele and Eduardo partnered up to bring a fresh pasta concept to London Bridge’s favourite street food market.

After proving popular with punters, the opportunity to open up a permanent residence in Brixton came at the end of 2021, and with it, the scope to expand on its menu and wine offering.  

The restaurant is located on Brixton’s Market Row, a stone’s throw away from household foodie names Kricket and Salon, and from the bustling tables, it’s clear to see La Nonna has the power to compete with the big guns.

Inside, things are kept casual. The restaurant is on the smaller side, with the capacity to fit around 50 people comfortably.

The interiors are sweet; with pastel pink hues and playful wall decor running throughout. My favourite feature is the open plan kitchen, where you can see all of the dishes being made fresh in front of you; ruling the previously mentioned issue of mass produced food out completely. 

The menu is simple with a Roman focus (this is where chef Daniele was born), and contains many of the dishes any Italian food lover would wish to order.

There are nine antipasti options available; most notably the burrata and the insalata di pomodori datterini, followed by eight pasta options (highlights include the ragu della nonna pappardelle and the cozze e n’duja tagliolini al nero di seppia) and a gelato-based dessert list.

The venue boasts a healthy Italian wine list and a limited selection of no frills cocktails – I chose an espresso martini which quenched my thirst nicely.  

I kept it simple and ordered the burrata to start, with the cacio e pepe for my main, whilst my guest ordered the focaccia and the funghi selvatici e tartufo tagliatelle (that’s tagliatelle with a creamy, wild mushroom sauce).

The burrata portion was generous and had that perfect consistency, and the cacio e pepe was deliciously simple; fresh, and not lumbered with too much garlic.

My friend thoroughly enjoyed her main dish, and after conducting a taste test, it was not overpowered with mushroom and the sauce was perfect consistency.  

Our mains left us happy and full, but of course there was room for dessert. The one thing that was lacking, in my eyes, was the sorbet option from the dessert menu. I feel after such a heavy meal this would make for a nice palette cleanser and it’s something I was definitely in the mood for after our mains, however, in the absence of this we shared a scoop of hazelnut gelato and a scoop of peanut butter gelato.

As you would expect from an Italian restaurant, this was some of the best gelato I have tasted from around London (Gelupo fans, argue amongst yourselves), and was certainly in a different calibre from the overly sweet gelato options from the restaurant’s counterparts and competitors.  

Over all, La Nonna is definitely a must visit for pasta lovers, and even just for those looking to try a new restaurant.

Brixton has cemented its status as a south London foodie destination, and La Nonna holds her own amongst fierce competition. 

With fresh ingredients, humble prices, authentic tastes and friendly staff, punters will leave feeling full and happy, and La Nonna will remain a top choice for those in the mood for Italian cuisine.  

Address: 7 Market Row, Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LB 
Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 4pm-11pm
Website: lanonnaldn.com

 

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