Coco di Mama, 90 Fleet Street London, EC4Y 1DH
Coco di Mama (Italian for Mama’s boy) is a welcome addition to Fleet Street, serving predominantly pasta but also a wide range of salads, baguettes, desserts and breakfasts. The stone-baked breakfast ciabattas with oven crisped pancetta, free range egg & tomato are high on Ade’s to try list. We popped in on a Tuesday lunchtime recently and it was full, mostly of city boys. There aren’t too many seats, so don’t rely on sitting down and having a lunchtime break, we were lucky to grab a table.
We loved how we were greeted by such smiley happy staff who seemed genuinely pleased to see us. Leading interior designer Afroditi Krassa, who also designed our favourite Dishoom has created a very cool look, loved the washing line effect on the walls with the oversized pegs. Coco di Mama was founded by childhood friends Jeremy Saunders and Daniel Land, who left their City careers behind them to set up this venture. There seems to be a swarm of ex-City boys setting up eateries lately. Daniel was buzzing with enthusiasm and passion for his business when we chatted to him, he said he’s never worked so hard in all his life yet is loving it. He and Jeremy even travel in together on the bus at 5am every day, sweet.
The Al Bronzo pasta comes from Sicily, there are up to four pasta shapes, including a gluten-free option, it has a real bite to it and is unlike any other pasta I’ve had. It’s made by slowly drawing through bronze dies to create tiny ridges ensuring the sauces cling to it. There are nine regularly changing homemade sauces such as Pesto, Bolognese and Portobello mushroom, or more unusual choices such as Bloody Mary (with a splash of vodka), costing between £3.70 and £4.90 per portion, plus daily specials. The pasta is served in small or large tubs, we opted for large, and found it a teeny bit too much. I ordered the Classic Pomodoro, and opted for it to be drizzled with chilli oil (they ask if you would like olive oil or chilli oil when ordering). While Ade had the Carbonara which was even better than Carluccios, his previous favourite! The pasta is served to you in under a minute*. (Which beats Amano, where they ‘cook’ the pasta in front of you to order… AKA warm it up in front of you to order!)
The ingredients are sourced from small artisan producers in both Italy and locally whilst the wonderful cakes are made by a small company based in St Albans called The Pudding Stop. The Valrhona Chocolate Brownie was delicious, but beaten by the Sicilian Lemon Polenta Cake that Jeremy told us is a top seller. We also tried the Apricot Zabaglione – apricot compote topped with zabaglione cream, and the Total Tiramisu – no description necessary. We visited a week before our wedding in Puglia so were pleased to see Tarralli which are bite-sized crunchy Italian pretzels from southern Italy on the snack shelf. We didn’t get to try any of the baguettes or salads, which all look delicious – no limp lettuce here! There are also soups and lasagne, so much choice and so little time. We did however finish off with a Flat White each, one of the best we’ve had, coffee from Climpson & Sons, an award winning independent roaster.
We’re sure that if Jeremy and Daniel were to set up another branch over the river near our office at the Bankside Mix, it would go down a storm. But until then, Ade said he’d walk over Blackfriars Bridge to get some more, high praise indeed as he’s so lazy (love you really Mr Brown).
Coco di Mama
90 Fleet Street
London, EC4Y 1DH
Open Monday to Friday 7am to 6pm.
*Pasta served from 11.30am – 2.30pm.
0207 583 9277