I write this review a little late and with a little sadness in my heart thinking about last night and how it was the last evening of trading for Spaccanapoli at its original location in Dean Street, Soho.

After 15 years, they have been forced to close down due to the new crossrail project and given a whooping 90% of the estimated property value as compensation.
Lucky them!

This is a food blog and I will steer away from going into a political rant about those who approved the works even though there is a tube station 100 meters away and a national rail one 10 minutes down the road, but I’m sure you get my point.

I was there at one of the Astoria’s last gigs and I was there to see Spaccanapoli serve its last pizzas.

My good friend Jason introduced me to it only a few months ago and I must say I was surprised as I normally snub most Italian restaurants here thinking that I can make better myself at home. But I was surprised at how this one restaurant in the middle of a very touristic area would bring back memories of being home and last night didn’t disappoint.

We had established pizzas were to be had, but I could not pass on having their delicious calamari in “aromatic breadcrumbs” (basil? Garlic?) as a starter accompanied by a glass of fresh Verdicchio.
The squid was tender and the breadcrumbs yet crunchy and tasty with bursts of the herbs’ freshness lighting up every bite.

My pizza was simply topped with sautéed aubergines, a little tomato sauce (not a la Pizza Hut), fresh basil leaves and fresh mozzarella. The crust thin in the middle and just slightly too doughy around the edges, but, hey, it was good dough so who cares?!

I finished my meal with a decaf espresso and a little grappa on the house.
I sipped them watching old and new costumers, friends and family come in to pay their respects to the establishment.
An institution to the Italian community.
Eros Ramazzotti, Er Piotta and Heather Parisi all played in the background just loud enough for the Italian diners to bob our heads and sing the well-known lyrics under our breath as a goodbye to this corner of home in London.

I will miss Spaccanapoli. I will miss knowing that among the cosmopolitan mass that is London there is one place that will make me feel like I’m back in the Bel Paese just for supper.

They’re currently trying to find  a new venue and re-start trading in March 2010.
I hope so; their sister restaurant, Santore, in Clerkenwell is nice but it lacks Spaccanapoli’s wonderful flair.

In the meanwhile, I wish the staff – managers, waiters, cooks, kitchen porters and cleaner uppers – the best of luck for the months to come.

And let’s not say goodbye, but “A presto”!
E le cicale, cicale, cicale, cicale…

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