À La Carte is a new series to give our readers a peek behind the swinging doors of London’s best and busiest kitchens – read about when we went behind the scenes with Martin Morales of Ceviche and Andina. We’ve been talking to the people cementing London as one of the world’s tastiest cities, finding out what makes them tick and making sure that our readers are given access to their favourite recipes.
Our most recent view into London’s culinary excellence took place in Shoreditch. At the heart of East London’s thriving creative hub sits Passo. This unimposing Italian eatery and wine bar is minutes from Old Street Station and is well worth a visit. The kitchen sees Joe Howley (previously of Salt Yard) taking the wheel, bringing a refined approach to traditional Italian cuisine.
Joe Howley has transformed the menu at Passo. It feels very much like an exploration of Howley’s culinary career. Now a more eclectic dining experience, the menu reflects Howley’s experiences at Salt Yard, complemented masterfully by influences from his travels. Take Joe’s interpretation of Doppio Ravioli, now a confit rabbit sharing dish, or his Ox Cheek Pappardelle flavoured with n’duja. Both of these signature dishes prove Joe’s skill at rethinking tradition, which is one of the main attractions to an evening at Passo.
In the words of Joe Howley himself: “Passo is a beautiful restaurant and the opportunity to head up such a significant space in this part of town is an exciting one. I’m looking forward to bringing my own style of cooking and cooking in the open kitchen, introducing a menu inspired by Italian ingredients and techniques.”
Passo pasta dough
This recipe makes 420g of dough, enough for 4 portions of pasta.
170g of 00 Flour
9 Egg Yolks
15ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Pinch of Table Salt
100ml White Wine, reduced to 40ml
1 Small pinch of Saffron
Reduce the white wine and the saffron to 40ml, allow to cool.
Mix the flour and semolina with the salt, pour onto a clean work surface.
Make a well in the centre, add the egg yolks and the wine and saffron mix, combine together with your fingers until the mix forms a ball.
Knead until it forms a soft dough and all the flour has gone, this should take 5 minutes or so.
Wrap in cling film and allow to rest for at least an hour before using.
The OPUMO verdict on Passo
Several hours flew by as we tasted, complimented and sipped the best that Passo had to offer. In general, several hours spent gorging Italian food would demand a lie down and some shame in overindulgence. Passo offers the perfect solution. The small sharing plates that make up the menu mean that you can sample most of the flavours on offer. Instead of ordering a mountain of pasta and regularly swapping tastes with your companions, the small plates encourage a slower, more social experience.
The vegetable dishes were a particular favourite of ours. Yes, we’re counting Truffled Polenta Chips as a vegetable dish. The Grilled Corn On The Cob and Roast Cauliflower with balsamic, olives and fried breadcrumbs will inspire a new appreciation for vegetable dishes.
Passo does more than just food. The restaurant comes with a tasty portion of great design, too. The subtle, earthy tones and floor-to-ceiling windows were designed by Alexander Waterworth. Designed around the large, open kitchen, 140 covers are immersed in the preparation of their meal. The interior design ensures that Passo, although large, retains a sense of homely tradition