Italian food, pasta specifically, and I seem to be having something of a renaissance recently. I’ve enjoyed many a bowl out, from the gorgeous River Cafe and trendy Palatino, to the glorious Padella and the excellent value for money Sager + Wilde. Now was the turn of Forza Win: a Peckham-based establishment offering pasta and wine for a tenner every Wednesday on their “awesome sauce” evenings. And unlike Sager + Wilde, which runs the deal daily but for early birds from 5-7pm, Forza Win’s ten quid combo runs throughout the evening. Perfect for those who can’t leave work at such an early time.
What started out as a supper club and popup serving roof-top pizzas is now an informal restaurant serving pasta in a warehouse in Peckham’s Bussey building. With scruffy walls, a plywood bathroom and locally sourced produce, it ticks all the on-trend boxes. The space is simple: rough painted white brick walls, a pair of long wooden bench tables and a chalkboard menu.
And eating here is very communal: you can find yourself sitting elbow-to-elbow alongside trendy Peckham youth, or a young professional en route via their commute home. Although not a supper club, it still had that kind of community ethos. The atmosphere was bright and buzzy, the staff friendly and it looked like friendships were being forged across the tables. The lack of personal space made it all feel much more sociable.
The restaurant also has a DIY structure: you give your orders in the queue at the front, pay directly there and then await the arrival of the pasta (and the vino). In the mood for a light, summery pasta, I went for the pea and pecorino pasta, without the pancetta. Pecorino, after all, is my favourite Italian cheese. It was lovely: the pile of farfalle pasta topped with a generous amount of peas, was delightful and certainly cooked al dente. But it paled in comparison with the pasta I’ve had elsewhere: the pasta could’ve been a lot more creamy, lemony and saucy – it needed something to bind the dish together, an awesome sauce surely? The addition of mint to an Italianate classic was also unwelcome – for me, basil (or sage) paired with pasta never fails.
Although a good deal and a fun atmosphere, Forza Win is probably not the best spot for pasta. I’m not sure whether it was the menu that evening that was disappointing or the cooking itself, but the Padella queue or simply throwing together a simple pasta yourself (see the River Cafe’s wonderful recipe for lemon tagliatelle here), is probably a better bet.
Forza Win, 4.1, Copeland Park, 133 Copeland Rd, London SE15 3SN