On a warm summer’s evening, grab a bar stool overlooking the Covent Garden piazza where magicians entertain the crowds. Order a Mango Bellini or a refreshing Taryntini cocktail.
Enjoy the bonhomie, the view, your fellow pleasure seekers dressed up for a night out or relaxing after a day at work. If this sounds like your kind of place then make your way to The Print Room.
Feeling hungry? Platters of cheese or meats are perfect for sharing. As are the thin based and crispy pizzas.
If you are in the mood for a more substantial meal, walk downstairs to the restaurant simply called 21. It is situated in the basement of the building, a vaulted, subterranean space of raw brick. Although the roof is low, it is full of interesting snug corners including a sunken area with a huge fish tank built into the wall.
There was a lively atmosphere at 6pm with what I supposed might be people having a pre-theatre meal or an early post-shopping dinner. The staff was friendly and attentive – noticing our table had a slight wobble and fixing it without being asked.
There has been a restaurant on this site for 30 years, first a creperie and then a pizzeria.
A couple of years ago the restaurant expanded to a fuller Italian menu. There was a good selection of starters, sharing boards, salads, pasta, pizza and secondi. Spoilt for choice we settled on arancini, black pepper calamari and wild boar tortelloni for starters. The calamari was the best of the three dishes, well presented and spiced, a perfect snack to accompany a cold beer.
The Cornish crab linguine was a generous portion – so much so that I could not finish it. It looked very colourful with slices of red chilli, chopped chives and crab meat.
The Figaro pizza was recommended by the waiter and was a very good choice. Bursting with flavour, the combination of salami, Parma ham, pepperoni, cherry tomatoes, goat’s cheese, red onion, black olives, oregano and roasted garlic olive oil made for a most fulfilling mouthful. I would happily return to eat another of these.
As we left the restaurant, we discovered that 21 had a large outdoor seating area alongside the piazza. It was packed.
Being in the centre of the tourist hub of Covent Garden, I suspect that many of the diners are not local. As a destination for a good cocktail, a beer and a pizza, 21 and The Print Room are worth seeking out.
I was invited to dinner to review The Print Room and 21. All views expressed are my own.
21 The Market, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8RA