The best Carbonara in London

I’ve been going through a phase of serious pasta cravings to the extent that even wishing I’d been born Italian. Freshly cooked pasta, mozzarella, tomato, pizza and an ice cold glass of white wine sounds like a perfect date night. I’ve lived in London for long enough to have go-to places for my widely different moods. Surprise, surprise, my Italian mood is usually somewhere in the top 3 – and not only because of the serious amount of fire in my belly, but because pasta satisfies me more than any other food. Sometimes there is just simply nothing better than freshly cooked pasta with peppercorn and garlic. Fresh tomato sauce. Parmesan. Carbonara. When in London, the answer is so deliciusly obvious: San Carlo Cicchetti.

The “tapas style” Italian restaurant uses only the finest and freshest seasonal ingredients, besides many of those are flown in from farmers markets across Italy to ensure the place stays so authenticly Italian.

If you’re ever, I mean ever after the most heavenly made, fluffy, creamy, just simply “f**** perfect” Spaghetti Carbonara, you know where to go: Covent Garden or Piccadilly, just behind Regent Street. A little piece of Italy will take you away from the always croweded streets of Soho and will introduce you to the best of Southern Europe.

History of Carbonara

As an education piece the names pasta alla carbonara and spaghetti alla carbonara are unrecorded before the Second World War; notably, it is absent from Ada Boni’s 1930 La Cucina Romana (‘Roman cuisine’). The carbonara name is first attested in 1950, when it was described in the Italian newspaper, La Stampa as a dish sought by the American officers after the Allied liberation of Rome in 1944. It was described as a “Roman dish” at a time when many Italians were eating eggs and bacon supplied by troops from the United States.

Also, there are many theories for the origin of the name carbonara, which is likely more recent than the dish itself. Since the name is derived from carbonaro (the Italian word for “charcoal burner”), some believe the dish was first made as a hearty meal for Italian charcoal workers. It has even been suggested that it was created as a tribute to the Carbonari (‘charcoalmen’) secret society prominent in the early, repressed stages of Italian Unification in the early 19th century. It seems more likely that it is an “urban dish” from Rome, perhaps popularized by the Roman Restaurant of the same name.