And what a shame because it's delicious; fragrant porchetta panini, pizza all taglio, zeppole, arrrosticini or other regional skewered meat, fried panzerotti, stuffed piadina, arancini... trust me, you'd love it all.
So here we are at Eatalio, Brighton's first Italian Street food restaurant that has seemingly come from Italy via Subway, the fast food retailer.
I say that because of the format, a conveyor of metal trays with such a huge selection of ingredients that you could end up with a very confused meal given too much choice.
You pick a base, either a piada (fair enough), pasta (Italians don't eat pasta as street food) or salad (Italians don't eat... you get it). Add a meat, vegetables, additions and finally, a sauce or dressing (what region of Italy uses soy and ginger exactly?). The food is laid out in metal compartments and just didn't look that appealing I must say.
Although the piada (like a flatbread wrap) is the only sensible choice, I had to see what the heck pasta on demand tastes like. And yes, it's impossible for pasta to be made in advance and not be floppy and lightly sloppy when reheated. Next, Italian sausage was added which actually, was an authentic coarse texture and flavoured OK, plain tomato sauce was fine, but nothing noteworthy. You could then top it with anything from feta (argh) to sliced vegetables. We opted for a safest bet with jarred artichokes and catering Parmesan squares.
No. It just doesn't work for me.
The interior is unusually dark and not very welcoming from the offset, with spray painted walls, copious use of black and some brutal, industrial seating. Personally I would have gone down the warm and inviting route to bring a little of Italy in with rustic tables and charming touches (VIP pizza in Old Steine have done this really well).
To extract any positives I would say the staff are friendly, the space is large so great for buggy access (good loo access too) or large swarms of students looking for a filling and cost effective feed and the location is handy.
I would put money on the fact that this has no Italian influence and from research shy owners. The concept is good as it's unique in this city and the format works for lunch on the go. But the result is confused and unauthentic.