Inspired by the 19th century London engineer Charles Spagnoletti, this Italian spot has far more to share than its vibrant décor.

After our theatrical potions at Hokus Pokus we make our way upstairs, just one level up is a retro-futuristic Spagnoletti serving Italian dishes.

As we walk to our table we see some familiar faces from Hokus Pokus, the conveniently placed connecting stairs between the two establishments is a clever idea, as guests can book the two together.

We also notice rather good looking dishes, particularly mafalde pasta, judging from the plates, the portions are excellent too. With open style kitchen and pasta made in house, it’s all looking very promising setting high expectations.

Although Spagnoletti offers a selection of classical cocktails such as negroni, mojito and mimosa we settle for organic Sicilian wine, Cataratto Bianco with high minerality and citrus notes.

We start with white crab canollos and clementine cream. Don’t be fooled by their size, they might be small but mighty with plenty of fresh crab meat. A little messy to eat as the crispy canollo shells break at a touch of a knife but that doesn’t reflect on the flavour.

We also order wild mushroom truffle goats cheese arancini from the snacks section, the portion is not very snacky I have to admit. It’s three quite sizable, about chicken egg sized balls served in a well ironically egg holder dish with a side sauce.  

My guest doesn’t like mushrooms so I’m left alone with the arancinis and although flavorsome with crisp charcoal coating and soft centre, they’re tough to finish solo.

I keep the third one on a side as I know there is more to come. Two pastas arrive promptly, after a considerable debate and plenty of thorough descriptions from our patient waiter it’s mafalde and agnolotti.

Mafalde is served with an impressive creamy thanks to pecorino sauce and rich slow-cooked beef. It’s cooked al dente and the mafalde is clearly just been made in the kitchen, screaming fresh.

A dish we would both come back for again. At only £15 you’ll be mad not to. We also both agree it’s the best pasta we both sampled outside of Italy.

Agnolotti doesn’t fall far behind. Agnolotti is a form of stuffed pasta, I had to ask as I wasn’t sure.

But unlike ravioli it’s perkier almost like a little box with walls, allowing for more stuffing without the squashing gravitation of the pasta ceiling on top.

The end result – chunkier filling with just the right amount of al dente pasta. In my case it’s carbonara, like mafalde it’s served with creamy pecorino sauce too.

Also, a pasta I would go back for. Our main, yes, we also ordered a main is grilled octopus, one of Spagnoletti’s signature dishes.

What sets this one apart is it’s smoked in addition to being grilled. It’s perfectly tender and juicy with no dried out or burnt thinner ends either, seems to be a frequency when octopus tentacles prepared whole.

Spagnoletti octopus is topped with a fresh salmoriglio, nice and simple to allow the subtle flavours flourish.

We just about have enough space for desserts, tiramisu for me and lavish chocolate ganache for my guest.

Tiramisu is fresh and light with aromatic coffee notes, just the way tiramisu should be. However, after a few spoonfuls I realise I misjudged the space so it needs to come with me to be enjoyed later.

My guest on the other hand is on a mission to finish the ganache. It’s a combination of three: a chocolate hazelnut shard or a ganache, dark chocolate praline and refreshing banana scoop of ice cream.

Decontracted to be enjoyed in whichever proportions the guests desire. Happy to report that he succeeds at his mission.

We leave happy and full, good quality carbs were well needed. But also we both discovered our new favourite budget friendly Italian, serving authentic dishes.

What’s also impressive about Spagnoletti is that quite a few dishes are gluten free some of which would surprise you like tiramisu and arancini but don’t take our word for it, pay Spagnoletti a visit yourself.

Spagnoletti, 27 Euston Road, London NW1 2SD. Serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.