Anima E Cuore – fabulous pasta and mediocre service in Camden
129 Kentish Town Road, NW1 8PB
It’s been a while since I posted a new review, and for this I apologise. I was travelling (Munich and Madrid… there’s a post on a Spanish-Asian street food fusion that will follow soon), plus work has gotten really busy, and I just moved house, and… excuses, excuses.
Moving to a new neighbourhood, though, has meant there’s a plethora of unknown eateries to discover. I’ve moved from West to North, and my mission is to explore the abundant restaurants as much as possible! It all started tonight, with Anima E Cuore.
I had a German friend visiting for one night only, and as we were quite tired, we didn’t want to venture too far from home. I perused the ever-reliable Time Out site, and we finally decided on Italian. And so we made our way to Anima E Cuore.
Upon first glance, it looks like a small Italian deli. And truth be told, not a very good one. When we walked in, the staff ignored us for a little while before informing us they were fully booked. Nonetheless, we were able to sit at a table inside rather than in their garden, and asked for a menu twice before we were even brought tap water. Finally, our waitress came and read us the ‘menu’ – a crumpled-up, handwritten piece of paper. After asking her to repeat nearly everything, and trying to clarify prices (we were only given a range), we finally decided to share a burrata starter, plus two different kinds of pasta.
The restaurant seems quite disorganised, but we received our food in pretty good time. The burrata starter was nice, but it didn’t even come close to what I’d eaten in Rome a few months ago (read more about that trip here). In between, we managed to wrangle a table outside, and then our pasta arrived.
The bad service, average starter, and strange atmosphere were instantly forgotten.
My taglioni with truffles was exquisite. The truffle shavings were more generous than I’d ever seen, and the pasta was perfectly al dente. It was subtle and delicious, and although it lacked just a little bit of salt, I devoured it.
My friend skeptically ordered the pumpkin ravioli, which was one of three or four vegetarian options. She hadn’t eaten much pumpkin before, but was pleasantly surprised by this dish. The flavours were unusual, with little bits of marzipan (?) and sweet pumpkin complementing the savoury seeds that were sprinkled atop the pasta.
The portions looked small, but were actually the perfect size. I would hesitate to call this a ‘cheap eat’, despite Time Out‘s claims. However, I will definitely be back to try their other pastas – there was a mention of black tagliatelle with octopus, as well as a duck ragout. And whilst the service left a lot to be desired, it’s worth putting up with for the best pasta I’ve had in London (so far!).
Average starter price: £9-11
Average main course price: £13-18 (with the exception of the beef fillet)