Perfect pasta and an amazing atmosphere- Pasta Remoli restaurant review

On a nitheringly cold evening heading into Finsbury Park through rush hour traffic I wondered if I had made a mistake agreeing to review Italian restaurant Pasta Remoli an hour's drive from home.

"This had better be worth it" I muttered through blue lips as we approached the restaurant, one of a row abutting Park Theatre in Clifton Terrace, just a stone's throw from Finsbury Park tube station.

Pasta Remoli #Islington #Italian #pastaremoli
Let me tell you dear reader, it was so totally worth it. In fact the whole Pasta Remoli experience made me feel I only needed Capri pants, a cute pixie cut and some serious plastic surgery for me to have a complete Roman Holiday moment.

 Even early on a freezing Thursday evening the curiously L-shaped venue set on two levels was buzzing with many patrons speaking Italian - I took this to be a very good sign.

Settled and browsing the menu I was completely unable to decide which of the mouthwatering dishes I would choose. Luckily the staff are all very knowledgeable and happy to make recommendations.

The menu is on the whole much as you'd expect with starters, chefs suggestions, sides and desserts. The thing that sets Pasta Remoli apart from your bog standard trattoria is the pick n mix main courses where you choose plain or filled pasta then add tomato or white sauce and then add one of a selection of cheeses if you so please.

So for instance you could choose pappardelle with butter and sage, or fusilli with seafood sauce. Cheeses on offer include parmesan, pecorino, salted ricotta, buffet or buffalo mozzarella.

We actually decided to go for dishes from the chef suggestions list but more on that later.

Starters. I am easily pleased and chose (homemade) bread and focaccia which is served with a gloriously coloured Sicilian olive oil. My husband was going to have mixed olives but we were swayed by the persuasive staff who convinced us to try deep fried arancini (risotto balls) and a small portion of one of the traditional Italian mains, Ox cheeks in Carrozza -"in a carriage".
Starters at #pastaremoli #food #italian

The ox cheeks dish was superlative, melting tender shreds of meat like pulled pork but with a more pure flavour unsullied by sugary BBQ sauce. The meat was encased in breadcrumbs and served with a smooth tuna and caper sauce which was a perfect match.

My husband practically inhaled the arancini - I didn't get a look in!

Back to those mains. After much internal wrangling I chose truffle and mushroom ravioli with creamy mushroom sauce. My husband went for tagliatelle with Italian pork sausage ragu and topped it with parmesan.

Now at this point I should mention that all of the food, pasta, sauces, bread etc is homemade and super fresh. This actually means service is quite quick as fresh pasta doesn't take long to cook. If you don't have time to wait - no problem you can take pasta and sauces home to cook yourself.

Our steaming pasta was perfectly cooked and smelled so good I thought my husband was going to kill me if I took one more photograph of it before giving him permission to eat.

My dish was something quite special and I savoured every mouthful. My husband enjoyed his meal too-robust traditional Italian food at its best.

Onto desserts - husband went for caramel cheesecake while I chose Tiramisu - given an unusual twist with the addition of Disaronno jelly - officially now my favourite alcoholic jelly!

desserts at #pastaremoli #italian tiramasu, cheesecake, limoncella

By this time it was about 7pm and the restaurant was filling up with commuters popping in for a quick reasonably priced meal, families enjoying supper with children young and grown up. There were couples and a couple of men with a laptop obviously combining good food with a business meeting.

Pasta Remoli offers a pre-theatre dinner, 3 courses and a glass of wine or prosecco for an amazing £15 and we spotted couple of tables taking advantage of this great deal. My favourite diners were a big group of Italians who greeted each other with lots of kisses and then started their evening with large glasses of a Campari based cocktail.

Occasionally I glanced over in lifestyle envy of the group who shared their food, all the while chatting animatedly. I wanted to be part of their party!

In fact Pasta Remoli is such a great place for group meet-ups like this I am putting together a party of friends to drive the hour to Finchley Park so we can have our own authentic Italian experience.

Now where can I buy a pair of Capri pants?

Highlights: Choice, price, atmosphere
Lowlights: Cold plates (which didn't affect the temperature of the food actually) and the fact it's an hour away from my home.

Disclaimer: Myself and husband were invited to eat for free for the purposes of this review. Views and opinions remain honest and my own.