Before you visit a new spot, what do you want –or need – to know the most? In this new series, The Rundown, we’re sharing all the essentials about newly opened (as well as favourite) Resy restaurants.
This week, we’re taking a look at the much-anticipated Eataly, the colossal new food hall dedicated to all things Italian, with more Italian cheese, wine, salumi, pastries, and fresh pasta in one place than anywhere else in the city.
Read ahead to get the rundown on all the essential details on this Italian food behemoth.
1. It’s the first – and only – UK location of a global collection of Italian food halls.
The first Eataly was founded in an old vermouth factory in Turin in 2007, and since then, has expanded to 43 locations in 16 countries, including South Korea, Brazil, Qatar, Canada, France, and both US coasts. And that isn’t even counting Eataly World, a huge Italian food-themed park in Bologna the group opened in 2017 that boasted its own herd of cows to keep the park in plenty of mozzarella, plus its own pack of truffle-hunting dogs – a veritable Disneyland for Italian food obsessives.
2. The amount of fresh and cooked produce on offer is, simply put, mind-boggling.
In addition to four restaurants, three bars, several quick service areas for a snacks, visitors can expect the following: a fruit and vegetable “market” from upscale grocer Natoora, a deli with cured Italian meats, cheese and fishmongers, a bakery, a gelateria, and a whole avenue dedicated to sweets (including a cannoli bar), a wine shop with over 2,000 bottles, a fresh pasta bar, and a bulk produce market.
On the ground floor, a central bar area will serve wine and aperitivo, as well as an array of fresh pastas, pizzas, breads and salumi. Nearby, a separate sit-down area will focus on Italian sweets, pastries, and cannoli.
Oh, and that’s before we get to the cooking school and five on-site food production areas whipping up everything from handmade agnolotti fresh burrata made using milk from Rivermead Farm in Devon. They also sell coffee.
3. The site itself is massive – and in a location that’s difficult to beat.
At 42,000 sq. ft., it’s huge, covering two floors of prime real estate next to the Bishopsgate exit of Liverpool Street station. Imagine Selfridge’s Food Hall expanded to the size of a small Ikea.
The location will, of course, take advantage of returning office workers as the pandemic tentatively winds down throughout the year, and is set to attract a huge amount of footfall in the area, with a plethora of eating and drinking options, also acting as a convenient stop-off for workers grabbing something for dinner before rushing home.
Though it’s enormous, it isn’t the biggest hall the company has opened – the enormous flagship in Rome clocks in at over 75,000 square ft, while other sites have offered guided tours to help bewildered first timers navigate the sheer number of options.
4. About those four restaurants …
At the time of writing, only the al fresco La Terrazza di Eataly will be open for business, serving an all-day menu of crowd-pleasing seasonal dishes (seafood, fresh salads, pastas, desserts) alongside a spritz-happy cocktail menu from an Aperol van.
After May 20, two other restaurants – Cucina del Mercato and Pasta e Pizza – will open. The former will sell prepare produce whisked from the counters of the hall’s various butchers, fishmongers, and grocers. Meanwhile the latter does, well, exactly what it says on the tin – both puffy Neapolitan pizzas and Roman-style thin crust pizzas baked in a wood-fired oven, plus fresh and dried pastas from Eataly’s own counters
A more formal restaurant, Terra, will only arrive later in the summer, which leads us neatly to …
5. Terra, its flagship restaurant, will be worth the wait.
Slated to open in September, Eataly’s flagship restaurant will espouse the virtues of live-fire cooking. Located on the first floor, the centrepiece of this sleek Italian grill is a planned 3-metre wood fire grill, fuelled with “virgin oak wood from the Calabria region,” which will no doubt impart a dash of theatre to an evening here.
Dishes will be prepared using a foundation of seasonal ingredients – a sort of River Café on the Bishopsgate Riviera, if you will – while wines from an extensive Italian list, botanical cocktails, and classic Italian desserts will round out the experience.
6. Not all of it is open right now – but pending COVID situation, it should be soon.
The repopulation of offices is still some way off, which means that many of the openings – especially for specific sit-down restaurants – here will be staggered. Both casual first-floor restaurants will open in late May, while the cooking school and the Terra restaurant will open in September.
There’s still plenty of scope to experience the venue at home, through their online store, plus there’s still the small matter of the sheer array of fresh produce, wines, olive oils, and deli items to browse for Italian food obsessives and casual enthusiasts alike.