Egle Loit’s Happy Meal is a buttery love letter to Florence

…and we have the recipe for you! The Darling’s Eatery chef and founder tells woo about the food that brings her joy

Chef Egle Loit shares her happy meal
Chef Egle Loit shares her happy meal

…and we have the recipe for you! The Darling’s Eatery chef and founder tells woo about the food that brings her joy

By Darshita Goyal08 Apr 2024
5 mins read time
5 mins read time

Egle Loit has a deep love of food. The four-letter word doesn’t just embody sustenance and flavour for the chef, instead it’s a pathway to beauty, comfort and nostalgia. “Growing up in Estonia, I’d make my mother call the Tupperware woman home so I could learn how to cook from her,” Loit says. Back then, the ladies who sold Tupperware were also the gatekeepers of the most delicious and decadent recipes. “The first thing I would do with my pocket money is run to the bookshop to buy cookbooks.”

While many of us have felt a fascination for making and taste-testing food, especially in a family kitchen, Loit pursued this passion beyond her childhood. After a successful crowdfunding series, in March, the chef inaugurated Darling’s, a restaurant and pasta-making studio. Situated in the midst of a dry industrial estate in London’s Fish Island, Loit’s charming Italian eatery has the quiet elegance to transport you to another time.

Here, food isn’t rushed between deadlines and meetings, or chowed down from takeaway boxes. The open kitchen allows you to appreciate the gentle, expert process of crafting hand cut, hand rolled pasta while the smell of basil, parmesan and butter linger in the air. Each detail – from the open, sunlit windows to the textured wood seating – add to the warmth of the eatery.

While Loit finds joy in plating up culinary experiences for others, we were intrigued by the chef’s happy meal. As someone with a vast knowledge of taste profiles and an unadulterated love for food, what flavours bring her comfort? When does she fall back on this meal? And most importantly, how can you make it in your own kitchen? No gatekeeping: all the delicious details are below.

What is your happy meal?

Loit: I struggle to choose just one but the thing I could always, always eat would be the tagliarini we have on the menu here at Darling’s. It’s with saffron and sage, made with a really delicate but full-on buttery sauce. It doesn’t matter which season it is, it pairs so well with red and white wine and depending on your mood, it becomes what you want it to. It’s so elegant and simple, I just love butter – nothing beats that flavour for me. Naturally you would serve saffron pasta with a good olive oil and parmesan but for me, the butter… it couldn’t be more decadent. (dreamy sigh)

How did you land on this recipe?

Loit: I lived in Florence for a while, I did a pasta making course there. That’s when I tried this tagliarini for the first time and instantly fell in love with this combination of butter, sage and saffron.

Paint a picture of where and when you’re having your happy meal.

Loit: My happy meal would really come to life with a lot of friends around. That’s the best kind of meal for me. A lot of people huddled around a messy table and eating together, sharing the food. There’s also a glass of wine and some really nice music playing.

What music are you listening to?

Loit: The same playlist that I curated for the restaurant here; it’s a mix of the songs that have been important to me from my 20s and just tunes that I love. If anyone wants to listen to it while making their version of the pasta, here it is.

Why are you drawn to pasta?

Loit: I’m often asked that, and it’s not because I grew up eating pasta everyday, I’d have cabbage and buckwheat or even potatoes. It’s the ideology that you can turn very humble ingredients – semolina and water – into abundance, if you have the skills. It’s so deeply beautiful and romantic to me that you can do that if you’re intentional and learn the craft.

Tell us how you decided on the name “Darling’s”.

Loit: It’s so English, isn’t it? I love the word, it’s such a caring term. For me it represents, “this is all for you darling”, like something that belongs to you and was created with care just for you. I really love the romance and gentleness in that.

And finally, please share the golden recipe of your buttery tagliarini.

Loit: Here it is:

Tagliarini with saffron (1 portion)

What you need:

  • 100g grano duro rimacinata flour
  • 1 rich egg yolk
  • 30g of water infused with a pinch of saffron
  • Few sage leaves


  • Infuse saffron in boiling hot water
  • Weigh out the flour
  • Mix egg yolk with cooled down and infused saffron water
  • Mix the flour, egg and water
  • Knead until the dough becomes pliable
  • Leave it in the fridge overnight if you can, otherwise for at least 2 hours
  • Roll out pasta sheets and cut them into 3mm wide and 20cm long strips
  • Melt 30 g of butter on a pan (not to fry)
  • Add few leaves of sage, let them get a bit crispy
  • Boil pasta in well-seasoned water until it doesn't taste of flour (around a minute or two)
  • Add pasta straight to the melted butter and sage, get a small ladle of pasta cooking water in it too
  • Take the dish off the heat, grate in some delicious parmesan
  • Toss, until you hear a slapping sound and can see the sauce has coated the pasta
  • Serve warm and indulge

Darling’s Eatery serves fresh pasta on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. On Wednesdays and Sundays, the studio hosts pasta making classes.

Press photo photography: Martyna Wlodarska