North London Food & Culture

Who Remembers? #1. Pane Vino, Kentish Town Road

The first of a new series of local forays down food's memory lane

It was a shame when one of Kentish Town’s longest-running restaurants shut its doors back in 2015. “The premises have become too expensive for me,” said chef-patron Stefania Berdini at the time, who had been threatening to sell up for several years.

Stefania was born in Rome, and her Sardinian cooking was inspired by a long life in Terralba on the west coast of the island. That gave her the experience to open Pane Vino way back in the late 1990s on what was then an unassuming parade just across the road from the tube station.

Stuzzichini at Pane Vino. Photo: SE

Its interior was rustic, but charming enough, walls adorned with arty black and white shots taken with a pinhole camera. Paul Smith-style stripes livened up the seating a bit too.

Stefania’s restaurant proved a smart move, and it quickly won acclaim from both UK food guides and the likes of high-profile residents like Giorgio Locatelli and Giles Coren (you can read The Guardian’s rave here).


When we published our first full-length review back in 2012, some readers talked of their mixed experiences over the years, particularly with service, but you couldn’t fault menu items like the stuzzichini (pictured above), the pane carasau (a very thin, crispy flatbread), home-made ravioli with porcini, or the mighty signature pasta, linguine with bottarga (silver mullet roe). And of course the famous pizzas flew out its doors.

Campari Spritz at Pane Vino. Photo: SE

In the end, by the mid-teens, the competition posed by then-fashionable arrivals Pizza East, Wahaca and Joe’s Southern Kitchen took its toll.

And by summer 2015 Stefania had called it a day, and the site was swiftly rebooted as the impressive steak purveyors Beef & Brew. In the later part of the decade it gave way to French burger joint La Patate, before the ever-expanding Tonkotsu took it over a year or so back.

And there we have it: from passionate Sardinian home-cooking to an uber-reliable ramen chain in two decades. That’s London in a nutshell.

Do you have a favourite place that’s now closed? Email us

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The award-winning print and online title Kentishtowner was founded in 2010 and is part of London Belongs To Me, a citywide network of travel guides for locals. For more info on what we write about and why, see our About section.