The latest contenders are a south London-based couple, Agata and Tamas, founders of the slightly prosaically named Pasta ‘n’ Goulash, which began life as a one-month residency in Holborn in December.
The pair will offer a variety of traditional and fusion from Italy and Hungary as well as rare wines and beers from both countries. We caught up with Tamas to find out more.
When did you arrive in London?
Five years ago. Agata is from Parma and I’m north of Budapest. Although we arrived almost at the same time, we only met in London a year later.
Ahhhh. Where do you live now?
We’ve moved a lot in the past years but luckily found a beautiful home close to Greenwich. We’ve settled in pretty well and now share the flat with our cat, Goldie.
What are your backgrounds?
Agata was an event organiser and I was a concierge in Soho. Our hospitality background helps to ensure the satisfaction of guests and gives a different approach towards food.
When did you start Pasta & Goulash?
In 2014, just after giving up our regular jobs. We actually started as food and drinks event producers called The Plot Twist. More recently we changed our profile to Pasta ‘n’ Goulash and started to focus on the food. The feedback from our first pop-up was amazing.
Talk us through some Hungarian dishes.
It’s all about those special moments I enjoy the most while eating back home. For instance, when you taste a rich goulash and bite into that crusty white bread; this is why we serve the soup inside the bread bowl. As the weather gets warmer I love beef stew with nokedli, a traditional dumpling which complements the rich flavours. And again, the best part is when you add that third element to the dish – in this case pickled vegetables. A new addition for us will be Lecsó: every family has a different recipe for this vegetable stew and it can come in many different forms. We use six different varieties of Hungarian and Italian tomatoes and peppers, serving it with sausage, scrambled eggs and fresh white bread.
And Agata, how about the Italian component?
Filled pasta is very important in the culinary tradition of Parma, where I come from. I remember preparing different shapes with my nonna since I was four years old. I’d like to share the beauty of these simple and quality flavours, so we offer six different types of gnocchi and ravioli, which are going to rotate every week. There are also three different kinds of sauce to choose from like pesto, tomato with basil and olive oil with Parmigiano. In fact, my hometown’s cheese will play an important role – but that’s a secret until the opening.
Is the restaurant licensed?
We’ll serve a wide range of traditional and small-producer wines, spirits and bubbles from Hungary and Italy as well as carefully selected craft beers. The drinks list also includes prosecco cocktails and different varieties of the delicious Hungarian fruit brandy, Pálinka.
Anything else we should know?
We hope there’ll be a weekly rotation of exhibitions by London-based artists and live music performances every Saturday evening.