Har Gau


Saturday, 7 February 2009

La Porchetta, 33 Boswell Street, London WC1N 3BP

Hidden amongst hairdressing shops and flats, there is an Italian restaurant in Holborn which I consider to be one of the best Italian restaurants in London so far. This is of course if you have no hesitation eating in a place which has pictures of little porkers all over the place (pink pig clock, pink pig chef in full chef costume on wall, little piggy silhouettes in a row on the window).

I suggest you brave it anyhow, and try this place out. Before you continue, this is a VERY long post.


With about 8 tables on the ground floor, and probably similar numbers in the lower ground floor, this restaurant would fit about 50 people at a time.


My experience here was so fabulous, I almost wanted to ask the waitresses where they’d hidden the queue of customers. Not that you’d ask the waitresses anything. The 2 of them were quite scary in a whaddya-wanna-have and throw-the-menu way of scary. Like they’d had some training at the Chinatown School of Waitressing. And was top of the class.

Thing is, after a while, you almost want them to yell at you, because they’re so friendly and just so so loud.


This post consists of the food we ordered in 2 separate visits to the restaurant. To have ordered that much in one sitting would have required (almost) super-human effort. Where prices are not exact, it’s probably because I was too eager to eat and didn’t take note of what it was I was eating.

First time here:


Porchetta pizza £8.20 (Tomato, mozzarella, sausage, pork mince and ham pizza)
Thin, slightly soft (but nice) base, with lots and lots of mince, sausages and tomatoes. This was comparable to the pizzas in Italy, unless of course you’re comparing it to the pizzas in Pizza Hut in Italy, at which point this pizza would be much better than the pizzas in Italy.


Tagliatelle boscaiola £7.90 (Tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms and mince)
The fresh pasta absorbed most of the meaty sauce, and although this was slightly too salty, it was the first time I’d tasted an Italian dish like this. It wasn’t very Italian, if you know what I mean. Must have been the meat and mushroom combination which made it nice so nice.


Spaghetti al nero di seppia £7.90 (Squid ink spaghetti)

Where some places give you black coloured spaghetti pretending that was squid ink sauce, this place actually has squid ink in the sauce for the pasta. Fishy, very easy to eat, and wanted much more after it.


Linguine polpette £8.95 (Linguine with pork meatballs, chilli, parsley and parmesan)

This was the favourite of the meal. The pasta was perfectly al-dante as it was with all the dishes, the meatballs were very very meaty, almost like they were daring you to eat them (we took the dare). The sauce was tomato-ey without being too sour and despite being full about half way through the dish, I continued battling my way through the yummi-ness.


Chocolate ice cream £4.50 (this had some fancy name, volcano or something)

Like a chocolate fondant, with molten chocolate from the middle, probably why it was called something like volcano.

Second time here:


Special of the day – bruschetta with prawns and chorizo (probably £3.50 - £4.00)

My friends ordered this as a starter, and also ordered a main dish each as they were very hungry but when the dishes arrived, we realised that we might have made a mistake, considering the portion sizes. As they couldn’t finish their food, I volunteered to help them out. The prawns were jumbo and fresh, crunchy and sweet. The sausages were very salty but nicely balanced by the tomato sauce. We didn’t touch the toast but I’m sure that would have been fabulous.


Garlic pizza bread, about £3

Shaped like a funnel, there was generous amounts of garlic on this one, ordered by my bread-loving friend (who also had a pizza).


Calamari fritti, about £4

The squid was very fresh, like the prawns. Also like the prawns, they were ordered by friends who couldn’t finish them (yay) and so I had some (most). Chewy, crispy batter and very nice with just enough fishyness.


Seafood linguine, probably about £8 I’d reckon

As you can tell, the second time we were there, the excitement of eating the food completely took over, and the professionalism of food blogging went out the window.


Porcini pizza or some sort, probably about £7 (seems to be the average price there)


Hawaiian pizza, £7? Probably.


White chocolate fruits of the forest gateau £29.50 (from Patisserie Valerie in Covent Garden)

This is a very very pretty cake. It’s also very tasty, and when I brought it out of the cake box, the oohs and aahs (from myself) were evidence enough of that. The fruits at the top of the cake managed to stay put the entire time (it had been transported all over London town), and even stayed on the slices when we divided the cake up.


This was a sponge cake, with cream and fruit in each layer, and a while chocolate sliver surrounding the cake.

This is one place I definitely recommend for people who want to have authentic (as far as I can tell) and reasonably-priced Italian food. Recommended by a friend who knows her food, recommended by me who likes food.

Google Maps to here!

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La Porchetta on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

the place looks so cozy, the owners look as friendly too...this already impress upon you the dedication and pride they must have taken to ensure you not only have good italian food, but also fun italian atmosphere. Its a kind of a unexpected genuine warm friendly welcome all in one that seldom one gets when patronising a place, not even if you pay 5 stars prices at 5 stars restaurants. If I have the chance, I would think its money well spend here.

Anonymous said...

The comment regarding the waiters was hilarious!

On the food... I can't say that I particularly love Italian food; however, it is possible because I haven't had any good one. Most of the places I have been are the mass marketed one. Having said that, reading this post and seeing the pictures (which are great!), makes me consider that and look for a good Italian restaurant here. Excellent post!

monchichi said...

Those comments are so nice, thanks for that Awesome and KimHo! I do like Italian food, so perhaps there is some bias there, but I agree with your comments KimHo, because there are some cuisines which I'm also not too sure about, but it could be because I've not had any good ones. Hope you find a good Italian place soon! Thanks for all the comments.

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