Working Lunch review: Does Obica's mozzarella bar have what it takes to storm the City?

 
Melissa York
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Pizza with prosciutto di parma and rocket

Obica St Pauls | 4 Limeburner Lane, EC4M

WHAT?

The latest of five restaurants bringing the Italian “mozzarella bar” to London. The St Pauls flagship opened last week, quite literally catering for casual walk-ins, business dinners, deli lunches, takeaway pizzas and cocktail fiends.

WHERE?

In a quiet street just off Ludgate Hill in a 120-seat, copper and stainless steel restaurant, with the aforementioned mozzarella bar in the middle, the deli as you walk in and private upholstered booths hidden around the side.

WHO?

Group executive chef Erind Halliaj imports ingredients from Italy twice a week specialising in Denomination of Origin (DOP) produce that’s hard to find outside of authentic Italian delis, like mozzarella di bufala and smoked Speck from Alto Adige.

ORDER THIS...

You’ll get the most out of the specialist ingredients by ordering a tableful of meats and cheeses. The classic mozzarella balls are so fresh they positively zing and the hams are delicate and melt-in-the-mouth. For a lunch on the go, the stone-baked pizzas are ready in a minute and a half using an extremely light dough from a family-run mill in Padua and it’s worth dropping by after work to try the cocktails, which intrigue with hints of basil, chamomile and celery.

BUSINESS OR PLEASURE?

Ambitiously, Obica tries to be all things to all people. The deli, pizzeria and mozzarella bar are geared towards a casual passerby, but there’s also a long curtained table with a screen at the head that’s presentation-ready.

NEED TO BOOK?

Only if you need a table for a smart lunch. Call 020 7248 3776

THE VERDICT...

The combination of high-quality produce, a varied menu and smart décor makes Obica an island of Mediterranean informality and good taste in the heart of the harried City.

ONE MORE THING...

Japanese sushi culture inspired the chefs at Obica to create the mozzarella bar as a way to fuse Italian ingredients with Asian showmanship.

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