This old Italian stalwart is celebrating its 55th birthday and is enjoying a sprightly new lease of life.
Spaghetti House in Woodstock Street is merely seconds away from the heart of Oxford Street making it the perfect pit-stop for ravenous shoppers. With a handful of outdoor tables and an open-fronted dining room, this central branch of the popular Italian eatery is bright, airy and modern. The decor is sleek with polished wooden tables, pistachio-coloured chairs and blousy red banquettes. The eau de nil walls celebrate the homeland with dozens of huge, monochrome images of Italy.
Despite the touristic nature of its Oxford Street location, Spaghetti House is bustlingly busy with a wide mix of guests from heavily-laden shoppers to excitable theatre-goers tempted by a good value supper. With lively music and friendly, efficient staff dining here can either be a quick fix or a more leisurely meal.
The Spaghetti House menu is varied yet succinct and with, as you would expect from the name, a good selection of fresh pasta dishes. Starters include a caprese salad (£6.35) with fat slices of beef tomatoes and creamy buffalo mozzarella drizzled with fresh pesto. The calamari with anchovy mayonnaise (£5.95) arrives hot and crisp, however the mayo has a disappointing lack of anchovy. If only all our recommended 5-a-day tasted as good as the zucchini fritti (£3.50). This generous plate of hot, crisp fingers is even more divine with a sprinkling of salt.
While stone-baked pizzas and il forno main courses are readily available, you can’t come to a Spaghetti House and not have the pasta. The tagliatelle with chicken, asparagus and mint (£10.95) arrives as fat ribbons of pasta tousled with chicken and asparagus while fresh mint gives it a nice summery zing. If its comfort food that you’re after, try the tortellacci with spinach and ricotta in a creamy porcini sauce (£10.50). For dessert, the home-made tiramisu (£4.75) is good, very good in fact with boozy coffee fingers and rich mascarpone cream. For something a little less overwhelming but still as decadent try the amaretto ice cream served with yet more amaretto (£5.50).
The house wine is served by the glass, half litre and litre. The red is a very swillable Italian merlot (£14.95 a litre/£8.95 for 500mls/£3.95 a glass) served at a perfect room temperature it works well with the fresh pasta dishes. There’s a good selection of wines by the glass (from £3.95) and you’ll find it hard pushed to spend more than £39 (which will get you a decent bottle of Barolo). You can’t come to an Italian restaurant and not try one of the country’s famous digestives. Limoncello (£3) is sweet, boozy and strong enough to put hairs on your chest.
The Last Word
For big plates of good, no fuss pasta and gallons of very drinkable Italian wine, the Spaghetti House does exactly what it says on the tin, but thankfully its a million miles from Heinz.