Sunday 19 September 2021

Eataly London review - Lunch and a tourist attraction

A cornucopia of Italian food, a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach, a good place to meet friends or have lunch with colleagues, somewhere to get a leisurely breakfast before you catch a train, a tourist attraction somewhere you can pick up ingredients for dinner to take home or even take an Italian cookery course - all this under one roof?
If you like Italian food then you simply must visit Eataly on Bishopsgate, next to Liverpool Street Station. It opened in May 2021 during the pandemic, and when I returned to my office nearby in September it was the first place I went to check out on my lunchbreak. I was amazed!
Walking in I thought I had either entered an Art Deco arcade in Milan or perhaps the Sefridges food hall. A huge effort has been put in to make this a beautiful place with a high end feel (and rest assured the prices match!) with decorative archways and even the way the produce is arranged which is truly Instagram worthy. Check out some of my photos below!

Whether it’s a wall of coffee, a pick and mix selection area with Italian chocolates rather than the usual gummy sweets, watching the bread ovens get fired up or watching mozzarella being made, there is so much to take in. The charcuterie counter had more types of ham and salami than I could imagine; there are also fridges selling pre packaged products. The wine floor has over 2,000 different bottles and the pasta aisles had me dying to take some home and try - I will definitely be back to pick some up once I have decided what to do with it. There were colours and shapes of pasta I’d never even imagined - I particularly loved these striped sombreroni which are little sombrero hats that apparently you stuff like cannelloni and bake in the oven. But at around £7 a bag they are definitely more of a one off treat!

While I was there I decided to get some lunch. There is a chiller cabinet with sandwiches but I wanted to try the freshly cooked food. There’s a counter where you can buy pizza by the (square) slice, a fresh pasta bar, a cafe where you can get pastries and a proper restaurant upstairs though I couldn’t see a menu without going in.

I went for the pasta which had three or four options (I don’t know if these change or always remain the same) and opted for tagliatelle with bolognese sauce. It was served in a cardboard tub with a lid, which I took over to the seating area; free water is provided which I thought was really nice. The pasta was very good - I love fresh pasta - but at £11.50 it was very steep for lunch and I don’t think this is something I would do again unless I was meeting a friend for lunch.

Overall though I loved Eataly; the products are pretty expensive though I do want to come back and buy a few things once I have thought of some things I will actually use - but it’s also a lovely place to have a wander round and simply enjoy seeing so many specialist and unusual (in the U.K. at least) Italian products under one roof!

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