Review: 4th April 2017
La Figa – Italian Restaurant
La Figa can rightly claim to being a veteran in the Limehouse dining scene having been a staple for over 10 years. It opened to great fanfare, inviting every resident in Narrow Street to dinner over three nights and to protests about its name courtesy of the Narrow Street Residents Association (clearly too much time on their hands). And what an addition it was, serving up authentic freshly-made Italian pasta and pizzas that were a delight to eat. The staff were veterans, many having worked for the owners at other restaurants – knowledgable, friendly and courteous. La Figa quickly became a regular haunt for the locals in Narrow Street and beyond.
It is a big restaurant with a big menu and over time, despite its obvious success, it became a bit to much for the owners to manage alongside their other restaurants – most notable of which is Il Bordello in nearby Wapping. La Figa was sold and while the menu has not changed substantially other things have – and not necessarily for the better. But more of that in a bit.
First the food, visiting at lunchtime, I had a plate of Spaghetti all vongole veracci – spaghetti and clams.
Lots of empty shells…. lots… that were cold, so I don’t know where they came from – perhaps added for show. That said, once I’d worked through the shells, the food was very tasty. Washed down with a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio and a cup of coffee – happy days.
My lunch guest had mushroom ravioli – a staple for La Figa and was happy with the dish, followed by Tiramisu, a classic Italian dessert. Washed down with water!
And the bill – £63 including service! It strikes me as being a lot for Limehouse!
So what is the problem with La Figa?
I guess for those coming to La Figa for the first time, they will be presented with large tasty plates of food and they will know no better. For those of us who have observed la Figa since its opening, it’s just not the same. During a busy dinner service, there seems to be little care or pride from the front of restaurant staff, and this makes the difference. It is also expensive, some might think very expensive for the food on offer and its location. I also have questions about the size of the menu and size of the portions. How a kitchen can cook that many dishes from fresh, is a mystery to me. And with the size of the portions, many diners eat half of their dish and take the rest away – so the restaurant is really serving two meals for the price of one.
BUT, and it is a big BUT…. The food is tasty and the pizzas are made to order, and we will be back …. just not quite as often as we used to.
La Figa Details
Address: The Mosaic Building, 45 Narrow Street, Limehouse, London E14
Telephone: 020 7790 0077