Tuesday, 10 May 2016

An Italian dinner at Rustiko, Soho

Despite its prime location in central London, Rustiko is not a well-known restaurant. It's unassuming and new, having only opened last year.

Nonetheless, on the Tuesday evening I paid the Italian restaurant and bar a visit, it was busy.
Now, Rustiko is not fancy. Don't go there expecting white tablecloths and hand cream in the loo, because you'll be disappointed.

However, if you fancy some fantastic Italian food and a relaxed atmosphere in an excellent spot, Rustiko is the place for you.
It was the perfect spot for dinner and a catch-up with my lovely friend, Georgie.

Although it was still light outside (hoorah for light evenings!), the restaurant was dimly-lit inside, and the candles on each table created a warm ambiance. Wine glasses hung above the bar and prosecco bottle lined the back wall. A good sign, in my opinion.

Seeing as Rustiko is a prosecco bar, we figured it'd be rude not to have a glass each. Or two.
Although flutes are better at keeping the bubbles in, I do love these glasses, despite the fact that they make for very dangerous cheersing.

Doesn't it look pretty in the candle-light?
And doesn't she look pretty too?
I definitely couldn't pull off that hair, but Georgie rocks it.

We perused the menu as we sipped, and as ever, it wasn't easy deciding what to choose...
As well as pizzas and pasta, there are meat and fish dishes, and the pizza and pasta themselves are more inventive than the usual. You'll see what I mean shortly, my friend.

We kicked things off with parmiggiana and arancini to share:
I thought it very cute how the arancini were served in a mug, and definitely enjoyed the addition of peas to the usual rice balls. They were crisp, flavoursome and delicious.

Even better, however, was the parmiggiana.
Oh my days, can I have a massive one of these please!? Served with pesto (which I also thought went well with the arancini), this parmiggiana was just sensational. The layers of aubergine, cheese and tomato sauce all melted together to make the most scrumptious flavour and texture sensation. You must get it.

Our lovely waitress (all the staff were fab, it has to be said) told us they all love the parmiggiana too, and I can totally see why.

When it came to mains, Georgie and I decided  we couldn't not have pizza and pasta. So, it was prawn spaghetti with chilli, garlic and asparagus for my pixie-like friend...
And a fabulous pizza for me...
This pizza was unlike any other pizza I've had and was just too intriguing to resist: atop my pizza base, you'll find houmous (YES, FOR REAL), mozzarella, grilled vegetables, rocket and balsamic glaze.

And it was amazing. I was obviously going to love the houmous, which went brilliantly with the veg, and I didn't miss tomato sauce at all. There was just the right amount of cheese and it was perfectly cooked. Good portion size too. We like that.

We also liked the music in Rustiko - there was a soundtrack of feel-good tunes that almost had us both singing and dancing. I reckon one more glass of prosecco would've done it...

By this point we were pretty full so chose to finish off our feast with a tiramisu and two spoons.
I don't go wild for a tiramisu myself, but Georgie is a big fan. And she was pretty crazy about this one in particular. So tiramisu-lovers, Rustiko is probably a good spot for you.

It had been a delicious, fun, relaxed evening and I'm so glad Rustiko was brought to my attention. Had it not been, and I'd just been walking past, I probably wouldn't have gone in, to be perfectly honest. And when I'm invited to try a new restaurant (I know, I'm v lucky), I always ask myself if I'd go back, and only if the answer's yes do I blog about it.

Well I shall definitely go back to Rustiko... For that parmiggiana if nothing else! They've also just launched a new downstairs bar area with a whole host of prosecco cocktails so I think I need to return to try those out for sure.

I was a guest at Rustiko but wouldn't have written about it unless I honestly loved it. Do let me know your thoughts!


  1. Houmous on a pizza?! I think I can hear Michele's soul screaming from here haha! Maybe I won't tell him about this one :p it all sounds so yummy, parmigiana is the ultimate comfort food and with a big glass of prosecco, you just can't go wrong! xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Food, Travel, Italy

    1. Haha I can imagine! It was yummy though x

  2. Great review Rachel! Portico is offering 20% off at Rustiko with a Portico Places loyalty card (just email places@portico.com and we’ll post one out to you for free) https://www.portico.com/bloomsbury/places/rustiko

    View all Portico’s foodie offers here: https://www.portico.com/places



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