Proving there’s more to pasta than just spaghetti one dish at a time

If there’s one thing that Leigh Broadway is not short of, it’s an Italian.

A cursory glance along the street reveals something in the order of at least five pizza/pasta eateries in quick succession.

Some are long established (Irmas is into its second decade, Ugo’s in its various incarnations has been on Broadway West for some 30 years) but it’s new kid on the block Pasta Nostra that is really making an impression.

Great British Life: Pasta NostraPasta Nostra

With fresh homemade pasta created onsite (in the window to the constant delight of my seven-year-old son passing on his way to school), it exudes cosy comfort, with exposed brick walls, low lighting and vintage Venetian furniture.

Owned by 29-year-old Pheobe Parry (well known to locals already thanks to her ever-busy Corner Club coffee shop a few doors down!) Pasta Nostra was created by Luca Cianti.

It opened its doors in Leigh-on-Sea in April 2022, following the success of the first Pasta Nostra in Old Street London.

Food and drinks are served against a backdrop of raw materials and dimmed lighting, offering a casual and cosy atmosphere. The furniture that fills the room lived a previous life in an old Venetian restaurant in London that closed during the pandemic.

The team pride themselves on not being stuffy "Forget stiff dining that you save for an occasion, we’re all about top quality food served in a casual space, where you can pop in any time,” Pheobe tells me as I sip my Negroni.

There’s no disputing that Pasta Nostra is a small restaurant. There’s seating inside for 30 – at a push! – and eight outside.

Great British Life: Pasta NostraPasta Nostra

But this only adds to its charm. And there's certainly something for everyone on the menu - with gluten free pasta, vegan dishes and even the little ones are looked after.

At lunchtime Pasta Nostra offers a bowl of fresh pasta, a chunk of focaccia and a small glass of house wine for £15 (excl Sundays).

On Sunday’s there's three courses with flowing house wine for £45 pp.

The menu changes seasonally, with specials added every month (the Fagottini, served with cornish crab, spinach, lemon butter was sublime though - as was the Tagliolini, served with crispy lamb, spiced sausage, lime crème fraiche.)

Great British Life: Pasta NostraPasta Nostra

But there are a few staples that remain a constant, so thankfully the Cacio e pepe and the lasagne croquettes aren't going anywhere (neither is the tiramisu - hurrah!)

And the commitment to fresh pasta is unwavering too.

"Customers can always tell the difference when they try our fresh pasta for the first time,” Phoebe tells me. And I believe her. There's absolutely nothing like this for miles around.

Quite frankly Pasta Nostra is proving there’s more to pasta than just spaghetti and tagliatelle one dish at a time.

And with the return of aperitivo hours (where spritz cocktails are accompanied by a selection of Italian snacks on the house) you know where to find me this summer....

I: pastanostralos