Eatalio is a new food joint on Queens Road in Brighton (on the way up to the Station) serving Italian-style street food and Small Batch coffee and cake. The restaurant opened back in August offering diners hand-rolled piada (Italian flat-bread), pasta bowls and freshly prepared salads.
The way Eatalio works is a bit like Mucho Burrito. You start by choosing from the stone (either pasta bowl, piada or salad) and then move onto the grill (to choose from free range chicken, spicy Italian sausage, British rump steak, or seasonal grilled vegetables). The final stop is then a topping (a hot or cold sauce for your pasta or piada or salad dressing). If you’re after more than one item from the grill that’s fine too, it’s just an extra £1.75.
Last week I popped in for lunch on the recommendation of my friends Tom and Hannah who live nearby and are regulars. Being that I was a little hungover and in need of carbs I opted for the pasta bowl – £6.95 (which was huge). I had brown Fusilli pasta (a momentary attempt at being healthy-ish), the chicken fillet with parmesan & herbs (no, watching Cowspiracy didn’t manage to convert me to vegan) plus broccoli & mushrooms (I don’t even like mushrooms but sometimes you need veg) and finally the Diavolo sauce (made up of tomato, chilli and a dash of cream).
Taste-wise the Diavolo sauce was very good, a great little kick of spice and also a very generous portion. The chicken was tender and pasta not too overdone. Unfortunately, the broccoli was far from al dente – but that’s my only criticism of my dish.
In terms of decor, Eatalio has an urban, industrial feel. There’s vibrant-coloured graffiti, worked over newspapered découpaged walls and high stools and tables around the perimeter of the room, as well as lower more traditional tables and chairs in the centre. (I recommend grabbing a window seat looking out to Queen’s Road as it’s the perfect spot for people watching, being that you’re right slap bang on one of the main streets of central Brighton).
As a takeaway lunch spot, it certainly works being that it’s quick, fresh and you can make up your bowl just how you want. It’s also good value for money, especially if you work locally, as Eatalio offers a discount for local workers. My pasta bowl was just £5 when I mentioned I worked locally and there was more than enough portion wise for lunch. There’s also no extra charge to eat-in unlike Pret and Bagelman. The staff were friendly helpful and efficient. However, for a sit-down dinner the atmosphere isn’t as inviting and buzzy as some of the other more authentic Italian spots in Brighton so it’s take away all the way in my opinion.