Friday, March 14, 2008


Food London

14 Old Compton Street
Soho, London

by Sarah Pasetto

Soho is a labyrinthine cocktail of activities and people. Rows of more or less salacious nightclubs circle the Catholic church I attend; a Michelin-starred venue is steps away from a Pizza Express. On the fringes of this pot-pourri stands Amato, an Italian patisserie/restaurant which has become one of my favourite haunts. Although unobtrusive, its shop window cannot be missed. Mirroring the eclecticism of its surroundings, it exhibits an assortment of cakes of every shape and size, and the long glass display inside hosts a wide range of biscuits for tea, chocolates and desserts sold by the portion.

As an Italian-Singaporean raised in Italy, I can say that this is the place to assuage my expatriate days of nostalgia, as everything, from the flavours to the staff, and the welcoming, relaxed atmosphere, is genuinely Italian. Distant is the brisk impersonality of the myriad coffee joints around the city, which confer anonymity and not intimacy. Rather, the laid-back joviality of Amato will pull you out of the melancholy contemplativeness London can so easily induce, and make you open to enjoy the simple pleasures that render life sweet: the company of a dear one, the heartiness of a plate of pasta and a foamy, bittersweet cappuccino.

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