La Luna: where the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie…

Clammy, comfort food.

I rarely get excited about Italian restaurants because of the following reasons:

  • I’m not a huge fan of pasta (which I can cook) and pizza (which I’d rather eat at home).
  • The menu does not excite me.
  • It’s difficult to find genuinely good Italian, unless you’re in an Italian person’s kitchen.
Two weeks ago, I went out for dinner with M and insisted on using my Taste card because I’ve not been using it as much as I really should. We decided to stay south of the river and the closest we saw was Italian restaurant La Luna. I wasn’t really moved by the pictures on the Taste website and by the location (Camberwell?! Really?!) but the reviews seemed pretty enthusiastic and we were really hungry. At least it’s an independent Italian – no mass produced dough balls in sight. PLUS. It’s been there for about 18 years. That should say something, right?
We got in the restaurant and were greeted by a cheery Italian dude who set our complimentary olives and breadsticks. Reviewed the menu beforehand and I knew I was in the mood for mushroom trifolati and the bisteca bocaiola (sirloin with mushroom, red wine & onion sauce), but my eyes darted off to the grilled fish platter and decided to change my order instead. M played it safe with prosciutto & melon for starter (and I ate his melon!) and linguine alla vongole (pictured above) for mains.
Roll call: Salmon, mussells, clams, swordfish, sardines, calamari, roast potatoes and veg!


Tiramisu for two

I loved our choices, particularly M’s pasta. The linguine was cooked properly al dente and the white wine sauce was a perfect balance of salty-clammy-chili. It was so good I was still thinking about it the next day – it’s possibly the reason why I wanted to go back ASAP! My platter didn’t visually look stunning but everything was seasoned perfectly and cooked well. Yum! Servings were so generous we both got full and didn’t finish our plates. However, we did get dessert and what better way to end an Italian dinner with tiramisu, aye? Unforch, we found it a bit too creamy and too… for lack of better word, commercial. But it was still a sweet ending and the staff were very very nice to us. We knew we were defo coming back.

Garlic breath!

We just didn’t realise we were going to be back so soon. Two days later, same guy greeted us w/ a very cheery ‘Ciao, Honey!‘ (good memory!) We were back for the linguine. BUT. I couldn’t resist the sound of linguine al frutti de mare so I chose that instead. Pasta was well cooked again but I was slightly underwhelmed with the sauce itself. It was flavourful, but not as rich as I expected it to be. M got the tagliatelle ‘La Luna’ with prawns, clams and mushrooms. Again, I liked his plate better. We had prosciutto again and garlic bread, too. Unlike shop-bought bread, this one had real pieces of garlic on hand stretched, stonebaked, fresh pizza dough with no frills like butter/margarine etc. Delicious!

Seafood pasta galore: linguine al frutti de mare & tagliatelle ‘La Luna’

A week later, we went back again and went straight into the mains. For someone who doesn’t like pasta, I surely craved a lot of it that week. M ordered a classic penne al arrabbiata. The sauce was perfectly rich with the right hint of chili. I, finally, got my linguine alla vongole which was everything I wished, dreamed and craved for. So happy.

A really good serving of penne al arrabbiata

Cheery Italian dude was very grateful about the review I’ve written on the Taste site. I told him it was my pleasure – we should all give credit where it’s due. I may have found a new liking to pasta because of this. No offense, but La Luna really was a surprisingly good find in Camberwell (whodvethunk?!). It’s not the poshest, swankiest Italian restaurant out there but there’s a warm sense of comfort you get in the food and in the kitchen. It’s almost as if you’re eating in a family home – which is what Italian dining should be.

La Luna Restaurant & Pizzeria
380 Walworth Road
London, SE17 2NG

0207 2771991
Average pp: £35 for a three-course meal with wine from the a la carte menu.
Tastecard holders get 50% off.

La Luna on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

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