On the corner of St Mary’s Road, which links the high street with super-popular Francis Road, it’s geographically well-placed, too. As for the name? It simply means ‘cool’ in Italian.
For the uninitiated, Figo is the third branch of a newish Italian concept whose first outlet is just on the edge of the Olympic Park, on the same side of Westfield Avenue as ramen hotspot Tonkotsu.
Parent organisation the Romet Group also have some other notable dining spots in east London: the Venerdi pizzeria on Chatsworth Road, and Bella Vita, as well as Cod & Co, on Broadway Market, plus several Turkish restaurants called Pivaz across both Epping and Hackney. So they undeniably know what they’re doing with all things Mediterranean.
As you can see from these pics, the former Auto Spares building has been cleverly and stylishly revamped; it’s now a spacious venue with proper afternoon sun trap terrace, capacity an impressive 100.
We sat where the windows open wide onto the pavement and, on a recent lazy Saturday lunchtime, tried a few leisurely dishes, washed down with a glass of Salento Rose or two.
Oh, and if it’s a rainy summer, don’t fear: the interior is elegant and bigger than it looks from the outside, with vast windows, socially distanced simple wooden trattoria tables, and the tiled open kitchen bustlingly visible at the back of the main room. However busy it is, the chances are you won’t have to wait too long for a table.
Glance at the menu and you see that this is not a simple pizza restaurant, although, of course, the wood-fired classics are all there in force, from margherita to calzone.
But it’s worth roaming about the options a bit: you might think you’ve eaten bruschetta a million times in London but here it’s especially delicate, thin toast topped with oozingly light burrata and yellow and red heritage tomatoes.
Calamari fan? These pieces are meltingly tender – no mean feat – encased in a light golden batter with a tartare sauce just zinging with lemon.
Naturally we had to order a pizza: from the eighteen listed, we shared a fiery Calabrian nduja (above), offset by melted mozzarella, cherry tomato and red onion, its crust light and crisp; next time we have our eye on the Tartufo, with fresh sausage, pecorino and truffle honey. Oh my.
Another star dish? A super tasty and silken home-made pappardelle (below) studded with thick slices of porcini mushrooms and a rich white wine sauce. This is literally umami-heaven.
Mains also include the likes of pan-fried seabass, grilled rib-eye and the ever-popular pollo alla Milanese, but another must-try for carnivores is surely the classic Filetto Di Manzo, the Italian take on steak-frites.
Comprising butter-soft rare fillet, sliced and mouthwateringly pink, it comes with roasted tomatoes and beef-fat roasties, a peppercorn dip and grilled chilli lending a hint of Mediterranean heat.
It’s an Italian restaurant, so you can’t leave without at least one dessert, right? Our tiramisu proved a generous bowl, its texture wet rather than dry making a velvety rich treat that needed to be shared, a strong espresso an essential accompaniment.
After your meal, make sure you have a wander round the adjoining deli, where you can grab freshly baked bread, fruit and vegetables, pasta, pastries and other grocery products – or even just sit with a pint, or another coffee, in the appealing counter by the window. Figo, indeed.
This is a sponsored post in association with Figo. If you are a business who wishes to work with us to speak directly to our thousands of readers across E11, E10, E17, E7, E15 and beyond, email: firstname.lastname@example.org