Comfort food is made contemporary chic at Claremont’s neighbourhood Italian.
It’s immediately apparent upon entering that Nolita is no cosy corner Italian cliché with chequered tablecloths and mismatched candlesticks. The restaurant is slick and intentional, from the monochromatic fit-out to the housemade pasta. Here, the ragù, an Italian restaurant cornerstone, is lamb, the succulent meat collapsing into a savoury sauce with a rippling undercurrent of aniseed. A generous topping of pangrattato adds textural crunch, and the dish is finished with an equally generous amount of shaved parmesan.
Classic flavours and techniques speak for themselves, and dishes are restrained and refined but generous in flavour and nuanced in execution.
Gnocchi is also well executed, the dumplings themselves soft to the bite and swimming in a tomato-based sauce, with walnuts bringing unexpected but welcome crunch and flavour to an otherwise simple dish. Under the guidance of new owner Lyndon Waples (Il Lido, Canteen Pizza), Nolita is comfortable taking the line that Italian is a cuisine that doesn’t require reinvention.
Classic flavours and techniques speak for themselves, and dishes are restrained and refined but generous in flavour and nuanced in execution. Add a drop or two from venue manager’s Giacomo Moriero’s lovingly composed wine list, and Nolita stands out among a sea of so-so Italian trattorias as a local to love.