Sometimes there’s nothing better than a nice long lunch with your mum and if you’re lucky to have one, your sister too. As a trio we’re pretty close and I feel so incredibly lucky at that fact. With that in mind, when my mum came to visit me and my sister in London earlier this month, I thought it only right we go somewhere a little bit special for this particular long lunch.
After spotting this picture on instagram…
…it seemed like the recently opened Bourne & Hollingsworth Building would tick that special little box.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to sit in that heavenly little spot, in one of those delightful looking chairs and sip cocktails all afternoon? Well, apparently my boyfriend – who said, “is that an old people’s home” when I showed him the same picture. Darling, that’s House of Hackney furniture I’ll have you know. Honestly, he always knows how to ruin it.
So anyway, after sharing the snap with my sister who whole heartedly agreed we should go there, I hopped onto OpenTable and made a reservation for three at 2pm.
But sadly due to a problem with OpenTable booking system and the fact that Bourne & Hollingsworth Building doesn’t actually open until 4pm we arrived to find a lights out, door locked situation. Rubbish. But isn’t it a beautiful looking building?
Thankfully we were round the corner from Exmouth Market (a bit of a new discovery of mine which is pretty pitiful seeing as I’ve been in London for 5 years!) and that has an abundance of cool lunch spots including rustic looking Italian restaurant, Paesan.
Or rather Paesan cucina povera which literally means peasant kitchen. Hmm doesn’t sound initially very appetising does it, umm I mean, who wants to eat like a peasant?, but the basis is that dishes take inspiration from a time when Italians would make the most of everything they had, think cooking all parts of the animal – liver ‘n’ all! and still make it damn delicious.
Humble, home-cooked old-fashioned food inspired by the Italian countryside. What’s not to like?
How cute are these two??
We ducked in and out of the now quite biting November wind and easily found a table for three.
We were welcomed warmly by the waiters and I noticed a large table of actual Italians already tucking into their food. Surely a good sign?
The menu was pretty extensive and we really struggled to decide what to have. As such we started with some focaccia bread, olive oil & balsamic dip and a bottle of Prosecco. Because, bread and bubbles are clearly my weakness.
Then we tried to work out what else to order. Paesan do an amazingly good value set lunch menu which is two courses for £9 and three courses for £12!
I was all for this (hello, arancini to start and spelt rissotto for main), that was until the waiter drew my attention to the specials board above the kitchen hatch and my greedy heart was stolen by classic spaghetti meatballs.
So I ditched my starter for a full on home-comfort dish. Which was ideal really as the weather outside was turning pretty miserable and let’s be honest, nothing warms your insides like a massive plate of spaghetti.
My sister went for the delicious sounding mushroom risotto and my mum ordered the ravioli which is normally what I’d go for! Argh I just LOVE Italian food!!
On the side we added a portion of hand cut fries with truffle & dolcelatte. Truffle seems like it’s everywhere at the moment and I for one am a big fan, coz everyday I’m trufflin’. If you haven’t tried anything with truffle yet and see it on a menu definitely order it – you won’t regret it.
The food was really good and we were highly impressed with the friendly service too. I’d read some reviews online that hadn’t been overly positive about the food in Paesan but I couldn’t fault it.
My meatballs were moist and moreish and I can also vouch for the ravioli and risotto being pretty damn good too (of COURSE I had a taste! We’re family…sharing is caring!). The prosecco wasn’t half bad either – in fact it was down right delicious. So an all round thumbs up for Paesan.
I’d definitely recommend Paesan for a hearty lunch or dinner or if you fancy just drinks, follow the neon liquor sign and you can literally pop downstairs to Bitters & Rye cocktail club and disappear into one of the nooks and crannies with a Negroni or two!
Later we nipped back to Bourne & Hollingsworth Building for lots of unbelievable cocktails and possible a plate or two of cheese (my other weakness) and I’ll be sharing that soon on the blog – I mean it really deserves a post all of its own.
Thanks for reading!