Soho is teeming with bars and restaurants offering a wide range of cuisines, including a range of old-school and more modern Italian eateries. Us Brits never seem to tire of Italian food, enjoying pasta and pizza in abundance which is why there’s more than enough room for RustiKo on Old Compton Street.
Rustic by name, rustic by nature; wood panelling and exposed brick walls made up the interior with candles atop each sturdy wooden table – like most Soho establishments it’s a little cramped and crowded inside which, I think, only adds to its charm. The downstairs area held a long bar with seating on one side of the restaurant, the tables spilling out into the street on the warmer London evenings. Upstairs was a restaurant area seating diners with a view over the bustling Old Compton Street – great for people watching.
The food is classic Italian with an extensive range of options; you’ll find more than the overdone dishes of carbonara or bolognaise, with a range of creative pizza toppings and pasta options. There are also a range of starters served in ‘cups’ which is a nice touch and some smaller sharing plates.
We started with a cup of arrancini to share which were delicious: cheesy, carby balls of rice-filled goodness. My cocktail of choice was the Soho spritz, a local take on an aperol spritz, with an added twist of refreshing elderflower.
I enjoyed the lobster spaghetti main, with chillis running through it and spring onions adding an extra crunch, it arrived in the traditional fashion – wrapped up in paper so when the diner unwraps it, steam pours out and the lovely smell of seafood fills the air. It was an extremely enjoyable pasta dish served in a generous portion.
Our waiter was a delight: extremely friendly, extending his warm greetings to all that passed through the doors of Rustiko. He seemed to have a genuine interest in the people visiting the restaurant and his chirpy disposition never seemed to dip.
They’ve also recently seen the opening of their new basement bar, The Shed, where you can enjoy a cool Blues playlist and and a refined cocktail list.
This is a cute little hangout which fits perfectly into its Soho home. It’s a great place to stop by for a drink and dinner or even for a ‘cup’ of starters and a cocktail, during the early evening.
37 Old Compton St, London W1D 5JY