Murray Blake

London food blogger

Campania Gastronomia

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95 Columbia Road, E2 7RG
Meal for two with wine and service: around £50

Meals served 11am-7pm Tue-Sat, 9.30am-7pm Sun
020 7613 0015

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On a sweltering hot Sunday, fresh from the rammed, barrow boy filled Columbia Rd. flower market we stumbled upon a promising looking Italian Trattoria: outside a dozen diners poured over sharing platters of prosciutto and pecorino, quaffing wine from little carafes.  This is Campania Gastronomia, a relatively new addition to the Shoreditch eaterie stable – it serves Southern Italian food: the owner and the majority of the staff hail from Naples.
The inside is small, housing around 10 tables which are packed in tightly, wine bottles cluster around the walls and shelter the new “East London standard issue” mismatched and reclaimed tables, chairs and cutlery.  As we enter we are greeted by the passionate chirping of olive skinned Italians, who appear to make up the majority of the clientele.  Soon after us a pot bellied cockney and his “Made in Essex-esque” family trailed in looking somewhat out of place before he fooled us all by bursting into fluent Italian conversation with the waitress.
This is really a lunch place and fits well with what I imagine to be the Italian family lunch ethos.  It closes at 6pm Tuesday to Thursday and a little later on Friday to Sunday, but the real buzz here will be Saturday and Sunday lunchtimes.  The menu is curt but balanced with even amounts of fish, red meat and vegetarian dishes.  The only starter option is a selection of Italian cured meats and cheeses served on a platter with homemade bread – unfortunately their supply of these Italian staples had run dry by the time we took our seats (2.30pm) so you may need to arrive early in the day to sample these.  The choice of 8 mains range from £13 to £20 and all look simple, unpretentious and authentic.  Unsurprisingly the wine list also focuses on the south of Italy and particularly Sicily – I would advise those with a sketchy knowledge of Italian wine to speak to the waiting staff who appeared very passionate on the subject. Another word of caution, you would be best to avoid the tables near the solitary toilet – this saw a lot of service and it can only be reached by a very narrow passageway.

So, to the food.  My Casareccia Ragu consisted of marvellous homemade al dente pasta tubes with an extremely rich ragu nestling slow cooked melt in the mouth beef chunks.  The only gripe was portion size, which was fairly meagre (in spite of the richness of the dish) – no wonder the Italians sitting around us are all so skinny.  The seabream chosen by my dining partner was extremely fresh though unfortunately a fraction over done, it was served with a generous rocket salad and, in true Italian style, without a hint of carbs on the plate.

I would highly recommend this restaurant – whilst the food is in no way adventurous it has obviously been cooked with great passion and using fresh ingredients.  The bustling atmosphere, knowledgeable staff and proximity to Shoreditch High Street mean it will surely be a success – it is an ideal place for a leisurely, if not gluttonous, weekend lunch.

Food 4/5

Atmosphere 4/5

Service 3/5

Value 2/5

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Author: murraycsblake

London food blogger.

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