Say hello to Islington's friendly neighbourhood pasta man

Wild mushroom silk handkerchiefs, porcini and confit Burford Brown egg yolk is a signature dish at Noci on Islington Green

Wild mushroom silk handkerchiefs, porcini and confit Burford Brown egg yolk is a signature dish at Noci on Islington Green - Credit: @lateef.photography

Sandwiched between Bellanger Brasserie and The Fox pub, Louis Korovilas' "neighbourhood" pasta restaurant exudes a bustling modern charm overlooking Islington Green.

The ex-Locatelli and Bancone chef wants Noci – Italian for walnut – to showcase regional Italian dishes, including Sicilian street food snacks.

A few days after opening, we discovered an unstuffy convivial energy with warm blonde hues and clean lines. Families are welcome and the short menu includes simple tomato or pesto pasta for £7.

Louis Korovilas & Focaccia with datterini tomato and olives

Louis Korovilas & Focaccia with datterini tomato and olives - Credit: @lateef.photography

There are also some cheffy touches and authentic combinations - a blend of the modern, traditional and regional - with a spritz of Korovilas' flair. Channelling Sicily's "friggitoria" vendors, there are fried parcels of leek, taleggio, gorgonzola and walnut, or saffron and nduja arancini with pecorino and parmesan, or squid fritti with a bagna cauda (garlic and anchovy dip). You could happily feast on those, with fistfuls of the house herbed focaccia.

But stray beyond street food and there are other delights: cured bresaola with celeriac and star anise, or fennel and blood orange with ewe's milk cheese. We opted for a silky, creamy burrata, offset by earthy, sweet-sour beetroot, and crunchy walnuts. We shared that with a seared yellowfin tuna, accompanied by to-the-bite green beans and an intense sundried tomato dressing – washed down with a fruity-bitter seasonal spritz (the fruit changes monthly) stirred with a rosemary sprig.

Fritto misto fried squid and mussels with nori and bagna cauda

Fritto misto fried squid and mussels with nori and bagna cauda - Credit: @lateef.photography

Mains are all pasta based, and went well with a carafe of Veneto rose. My hearty Genovese ragu of slow-cooked veal and pork was a story of sweet and salt – sweet from the caramelised onions and salt from the flowerlike shavings of Swiss Tête de Moine ("monk's head"), cheese which are scraped at your table using a girolle. My companion's seared scallops sat atop a deep green pappardelle, dressed with crisp bites of pancetta and cavolo nero.

An open herbed lamb shoulder ravioli or the signature wild mushroom with confit Burford brown egg looked just as enticing. I may have to go back.

Neapolitan Genovese ragu

Neapolitan Genovese ragu - Credit: @lateef.photography

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Desserts include family-friendly whipped gelato with frosted pistachios, but we opted to share a rich miso panna cotta with bitter chocolate and white balsamic reduction. Scoop a smidgeon of each onto one spoon to set your taste buds tingling. Three courses range from £20 to £30. With a good choice of wines by the carafe and cocktails on tap, it's a place for families and friends to catch up over a lunch or dinner that won't bust the wallet. Noci is a welcome addition to Upper Street's thriving restaurant scene.

Noci, 4-6 Islington Green. N1. Visit nocirestaurant.co.uk