Opened in late August 2019, and featured in our round-up of places to try this month, Berto Pasta is a hand-made fresh pasta concept from the team behind neighbourhood pizzeria Zia Lucia. Berto serves a selection of pasta doughs made from traditional, wholemeal and gluten-free flours, so with a focus on fresh, hand-made pasta we had to try it out.
The small 45-cover restaurant has an open kitchen at one end, giving diners the opportunity to look onto the craftsmanship that goes into fresh pasta making. The bright, airy space is filled with rustic-designed tableware and Umbrian pottery, making for an authentic, Italian dining experience.
We started with slices of Culatta ham (£6), and Stracciatella cheese from Puglia (£5) with organic bread. Similar to a Burrata, the cheese was creamy although did lack flavour so could be paired with something else for more balance of flavour.
For our main courses (of freshly made pasta), we chose the Tagliatelle with slow cooked beef ragu (£10), and Buffalo ricotta filled ravioli with butter, sage and lemon zest (£12.50). Our personal preference would have been for the Tagliatelle to have another 90 seconds bubbling in water. Overall the dish was tasty, but did not wow (it was akin to what we could make at home). The ravioli on the other hand was perfectly executed, balanced and moreish.
Of the three dessert choices, we opted for Cannolini siciliani with ricotta and chocolate (£5) and chocolate fondant (£5.50). There’s always something theatrical about a filled pastry shell, so always a fun menu choice. We found the ricotta-cream filling a little too sweet for our palate, but the chocolate fondant was the right balance between cocoa and sweetness, and oozing in the centre.
The novelty of eating freshly made pasta on site is not to be snubbed, and this skill needs to be learned, honed and the end-to-end process perfected such that guests get perfectly cooked pasta for every service at a restaurant. We noted that our main courses came out just as we’d finished our starters, rather than after a few minutes pause, so a small timing issue but nothing of concern. We were satisfied by the fresh pasta, albeit a couple of dishes lacked the wow factor we had expected (though the pasta element was great). We would definitely eat the ricotta stuffed ravioli with butter and sage, if visiting again.
Service was friendly, polite and the waiting staff clearly knew the menu well when we had questions. Berto Pasta also offers very good value for money, with the total cost for 2 at this neighbourhood restaurant being £44 plus drinks and service.
Location: 155 Holloway Road, London, N7 8LX
For more information, visit berto.uk.