London is not short of great Thai, Chinese, Spanish or Indian restaurants. The list is long. However, we have always felt that Italian food was never the city’s forté, unless you were willing to spend your night washing the dishes in a Michelin star kitchen in Mayfair or the many Jamie’s meet your idea of great, authentic Italian cuisine.
So we were very intrigued when we heard that a new Italian place had opened up right next to the Haggerston pub not too long ago. Dominated by kebap places and Chinese takeaways, we wouldn’t think the area would be the ideal host for anything Italian. We are happy to say that we were wrong.
The food at Rotorino is mostly quite good and everything we tried was very well cooked. The dishes were all created with top quality ingredients and cooked simply, which allowed the tasty ingredients to shine.
We started with some Sicilian Green Olives which were among some of the best we have tasted so far. Complimentary garlic Piadina was served alongside which was a nice addition and again, beautifully made indeed. Then the Fried Artichoke and Viola Squash arrived and this was a little disappointing and our least favorite dish of the meal -it just lacked in flavor and texture and was just a bit washy and lost as a dish. Next up our mains arrived and they were both visually impressive and beautifully served. The Mussel Casarecce had a fantastic flavor that was nice and delicate that let the flavor of the mussels come through very well. The pasta itself was cooked very well and nicely al dente although we are not quite sure that it was the right choice of pasta for such a delicate sauce. The Hanger Steak from the Wood Grill section was very nicely cooked with lots of great colour to the meat for that all important maillard reaction and charred flavor. It had a nice subtle smokiness to it too from the cooking on the wood grill and the Callabrian sauce served with it was deep and robust enough to stand up to the flavor of the steak with a great moreish flavor to it.
Over all the food we tried was very nice indeed albeit with a few mishaps and a slight lacking in some areas. On the whole the dishes were all very well made and all complemented each other nicely.
We wouldn’t call Rotorino cheap but it is surely very reasonable. You can easily manage to get away with a tab under £50 for a two-course dinner for two including a drink.
Perhaps there are a few out of character things for a place in Haggerston, like the slightly older clientele or the fact that you can actually hear each other speak! The place is spacious with a separate bar area. There is a slight poshness to the place despite the industrial décor of raw brick walls, metal lamps and brass mirrors. Yet, blue tiles on one side of the wall and the wooden panel ceiling add Mediterranean charm and warmth. It is dim, it is hip, and it is still romantic.
There is nothing more pleasant than an informed waiter who can tell you the subtle differences between all kinds of wine and go over the menu with a smile on his face. They come in plenty at this place and our waiter was very knowledgeable about the whole menu and it never took too long to get his attention.
FOOD – 8
AMBIANCE – 8
SERVICE - 8
Find out more about Rotorino here.