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Test Driving Noci - Islington gets a fresh pasta restaurant that's already a big hit

noci restaurant review islington londonA look inside Noci - it goes back a fair bit too. They need to crank up those lights a little, though. 

So what do we need to know about Noci?

This new restaurant in Islington sees chef Louis Korovilas (ex Bancone and Locanda Locatelli) serving up a pasta-focused menu mixed with Sicilian street food snacks and well-priced drinks. It's taken over what used to be Cote and it's the first time Islington's seen a proper fresh pasta restaurant, which are very much in vogue, open in the area. 

Where is it?

You'll find it on Islington Green, next to Bellanger, in the old Cote site. The nearest tube is Angel.

Where should we meet friends for a drink first?

Your best bets are either in the bar next door at Bellanger (where you can actually just pop in for a drink now) or, on the other side, there's the Fox on the Green. For cocktails, the nearby 69 Colebrooke Row (aka The Bar With no Name) remains a safe bet. 

And where's a good place to sit ?

It depends on the size of your crowd. Couples have some nice window counter seating for two which looked romantic on the evening we popped in. There's also a raised communal table and plenty of space for small and larger groups.

So what's on the menu?

Obviously pasta, but we'll get to that. The menu's split into snacks, small plates, pasta and dessert. The menu's changed pretty comprehensively in the days since we went, so use this as a guide of what to expect:

noci restaurant review islington londonSaffron & ‘nduja arancini, Pecorino & Parmesan (£7) - the best of the snacks we tried, punchy and delicious.

noci restaurant review islington londonSquid fritti with nori and bagna cauda (£7.50) - the bagna cauda dip was fabulous, but the squid could have done with a little more time in the frier.

noci restaurant review islington londonBrown butter cacio e pepe bugatini (£8) - a truly wonderful pasta dish (we're still dreaming about the sauce). Looks like they change the pasta this is served with pretty regularly.

noci restaurant review islington londonHerbed lamb shoulder open ravioli, chive oil (£14.50). "Open ravioli" means that the meat ragout is underneath this pile of pasta. There was a real depth of flavour in this ragout and the chive oil worked particularly well with it.

Room for dessert?

There's a pretty interesting looking dessert menu, which also seems to change regularly, with the whipped gelato offering new flavours all the time.

noci restaurant review islington londonMiso panna cotta, bitter chocolate, white balsamic (£6.50) - great pannacotta, but we weren't at all sure about that balsamic addition.

noci restaurant review islington londonChocolate and bay leaf rippled gelato (£6) - topped with pistachio and kumquats.

And to drink?

Wine is very reasonably priced here at Noci with seven options on the exclusively Italian list coming in under the £30 mark. Our carafe of Terrepiano Pinot Grigio was a fresh bargain at £22.

Overall thoughts:

Noci is just what the Islington restaurant scene was missing and it's already a clear hit being completely packed when we visited on a Tuesday evening. For us, the big hits were the pasta dishes which is what it's all about - so we'd suggest getting a few of those between you. And now that we see they've added vitello tonnato and a bunch of wild garlic options to the menu, we'll be back soon to try more.

 

More about Noci

Where is it? 4-6 Islington Green, London N1 2XA

How to book:  book online.

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @nocipasta.

Hot Dinners dined as guests of Noci. Prices are correct at time of publication.

 

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