If the term Mozzarella Bar leaves you confused, with mixed images of cheese cocktails and nu-marketing-speak alarm bells ringing in your ears, you’re not alone. Still, you’ll almost certainly be converted to the proposition when you taste what the newly opened Obicà in St Paul’s has to offer. With this airy and inoffensively stylish space located in the heart of the City, it’s clearly aimed at the business lunch (or business small plate, if you like). That shouldn’t stop the non-corporate Italophiles among you trying out this exceptional and focused menu though.
With greyscale photos of mozzarella looking down at you from the walls, and a whole section of the menu dedicated to the stuff, it would be criminal not to give Obicà’s freshly imported mozzarella a go. Any cheese snobs sneering at the subtle flavours of mozzarella – or, worse still, accusing this silky treasure of being ‘plain’ – should be sharply pointed towards Obicà, where three distinct types are served: Classica, Burrata (deliciously creamy), and Bufala Affumicata (naturally smoked with a complexity that will surprise the uninitiated). Knowing that simplicity speaks volumes when it comes to this kind of antipasti, Obicà wisely keep things pared back and uncomplicated. All you’ll need, and more importantly all you’ll get, with these cheeses is a dash of homemade pesto, a basket of hot flatbreads, and, should you fancy it, a few well-considered black truffle shavings – oh, and the prerequisite cherry tomatoes.
Where mozzarella goes, cured hams should follow. And so they do –seven variations are offered here. Upon friendly and informed advice we opted for the Prosciutto Crudo San Daniele DOP, a slightly sweeter flavour than that of the standard issue Crudo di Parma DOP, and a rather delicious one too. That Proscuito Crudo also found its way onto a very serviceable pizza whose light, diaphanous dough is apparently thanks to a 48 hour resting period – slow, unrushed food is Obicà’s raison d’être. My fresh ravioli, meanwhile, was so fresh that it was being made right opposite us by nimble handed chefs. Always a charmingly poetic spectacle and a sure singifier of quality, especially when that same pasta comes to your plate doused in a generous helping of sage butter. Shyness with sauce is rarely appreciated when it comes to pasta; no such droughts here.
Although the pudding menu is wide ranging, you would do well to plump for the panna cotta or tiramisu which are both beautifully rich and seductively smooth – doing those Italian icons proud is what this place does best, after all. If a liquid lunch is more your thing (City boys ahoy), then the mixologists at Obicà will have you well covered with a handsome bar menu of modified classics. In particular, the thyme and mint infused Spakka gin Martini is set to become my favourite cocktail this summer: soon may it, and another trip to Obicà, come.