When I’m not travelling, I’m either thinking about travelling or thinking about food. I have always been a food lover; however, over the years this has developed from a love of chicken nuggets and chocolate chip cookies to something slightly more refined and adventurous (although don’t get me wrong, I still love nuggets and cookies).
I used to feel the need to justify ‘foodie writing’ on this blog, as it is predominantly dedicated to travel and I don’t actually feel particularly well qualified to write about restaurants. I don’t go for 10 course tasting menus at *insert Michelin starred restaurant here*, I don’t get the point of quinoa and I can’t really critique dishes.
On the other hand, I do love the fact that some meals make you feel like your mouth is ‘travelling’ and I also love when chefs use innovation in their cuisine (either through techniques or flavours). For me, life is about experiencing new things and good food is one of those things that allows you to lose yourself and use all of your senses in the process.
Since I started working in London around 2 years ago, I have been eating my way around the capital non stop. My friend Brontë called me a “one woman food encyclopedia” today, so it felt as good a day as any to start my new foodie series …’Plate Emoji’! Hopefully the name won’t prove to be too confusing.
To start off my new series, I am going to be telling you about an Italian restaurant I recently visited called Anima e Cuore.
Website: http://bit.ly/2x1RPrJ (Facebook Page)
Closest Underground Station: Camden Town
Price Range: ££
Anima e Cuore is a tiny Italian restaurant in the heart of Camden, which is so old school that it doesn’t even have a website. I heard about this place through a couple of recommendations and, after Facebook messaging the restaurant, I got a private number which I rang to make a reservation*. This all felt so top secret that I felt I should have made the call on a burner phone and then swallowed the SIM card.
(*NB: you can just contact them normally, I just enjoy being extra.)
This restaurant looks very unassuming from the outside – nothing more than a little gelato shop and bakery counter. However, as you tunnel through, you’ll find two tiny rooms (one indoor and one outdoor) and a menu on a chalkboard. Once you’re seated, you will be brought some amazing appetisers and the waiter/waitress will literally go through every item on the chalkboard in order to explain what it is and how it was made. This must be quite tiresome for the staff but it was really helpful for me, as the majority of the dishes were written in Italian.
We chose to go for the scallops with crispy garlic, parmesan and butternut squash to start, which cost around £9. I’ve had mixed feelings towards scallops at times, having had some which were quite tough and rubbery, even at fancier restaurants. The best scallops I have had to date, were those I ate in the Grange Hotel in Grange-over-Sands; however, the scallops from Anima e Cuore came pretty damn close. They had a melt in the mouth, buttery texture and they were deliciously seasoned. The presentation was also beautiful, which does help things to taste better for some reason.
For mains, we tried their famous truffle tagliatelle and pappardelle with artichoke and parmesan. These pastas cost between £13-16 each but, as you can see, the portion sizes were very generous and the quality of the ingredients seemed top class. The tagliatelle in particular was absolutely delicious and generously coated with shavings of truffle.
Finally, we finished the meal with two types of chocolate mousse; a white chocolate mousse with mango and a dark chocolate mousse with passion fruit. I believe that these desserts were £6-7 each, although by this point I was in such a state of food bliss that I couldn’t really care less how much they were charging me. While the dark chocolate mousse was incredible, more than a couple of bites became a little rich for me and so I was happy to stick to the milder white chocolate alternative.
All in all, this restaurant is a hidden gem and every lover of Italian cuisine needs to pay it a visit. My friend Ginny went as far as to say that it was the best Italian food in London! If you think this is too bold a claim, I suggest you try it out and let me know whether or not you agree 🙂
Thanks for reading,
~ Plane Emoji
P.S. If you’re interested in reading the foodie pieces I have written before, you can find them here: