Eating Out: Paesan London

Saturday 3 October 2015 by

Pasean, London, Restaurant, Kitchen, Bar, Italian, Food, Eating out

Eating out in London is one of my favourite things to do. It’s even better in good company. So when a group of us descended on Paesan, it could only mean one thing: a good night!

Paesan is a small Italian kitchen and bar on Exmouth Market, offering simple Italian dishes upstairs, and a cocktail bar with loud music and comfy sofas downstairs. We start with a drink downstairs – with Happy Hour between 5pm and 8pm, you can get two for one cocktails, which is a bonus as they are a little pricey (ranging from £8 to £11). Pick up a Pornstar Martini though, as they do it the right way: with a chaser of Prosecco!

The tables upstairs are close together, but still with enough privacy so you don’t feel like you’re sharing your dinner with your neighbour. They are very good about allergies – giving you an allergen menu – but be warned because you are limited with gluten free (it is an Italian after all). I picked the sea bream, served on a bed of spinach, chickpeas and tomatoes. It was delicate, fresh and delicious, and not too heavy. I find I have to really be in the “mood” for fish, but this was well-balanced and tasty, without anything too fishy about it.

For dessert, I have to admit I was disappointed. Although it’s exciting to see a gluten free option that isn’t just ice cream, I found the flourless chocolate dessert dry and heavy. It was overwhelmingly sticky and sweet, gumming to paste in your mouth, and crumbling apart on the plate. It was an odd mix of heavy brownie and too-dry cake, and although the portion was generous, it was simply too much. I was done after a mouthful!

Prices are reasonable – for dinner with a glass of wine plus service, it was £30, which is no more than you would end up paying in most chains. The atmosphere is great, with an open kitchen, friendly staff, and soft wood decorations. But the best bit had to be the bar downstairs. Spend a little time stood at the bar and watch the staff throw the bottles and cocktail shakers around with ease. Be warned – they will tease you. But they can make sixteen cocktails at once (I witnessed it), so a bit of teasing is worth the show!  The booths are tucked away, and there’s plenty of standing room, so it’s the perfect place to gather a bunch of friends together.

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