London’s most coveted dish this spring? It isn’t an acai smoothie or buddha bowl, but instead a heap of pecorino-coated spaghetti served inside a wheel of cheese at new east London hotspot Gloria (they’re already planning a second, too). This is the latest in a slew of handmade pasta trattorias opening across the capital, joining Emilia’s, Flour & Grape and Padella. Online, the pasta appetite seems equally ravenous: YouTube channel Pasta Grannies now has 380k subscribers; Instagram posts tagged #girlswithgluten and #choosepasta are rising steadily. So what’s driving the trend? Surely truffle-topped fettuccine and 10-layer lasagne (two other Gloria specialities) are a no-go for health-conscious millennials? Not so, says Leah Hyslop, author of cookbook Made in London: “I think the popularity of these pasta joints, where mozzarella oozes and the red wine flows, is a reaction against the clean-eating, anti-carb diets of recent years. Food is one of life’s great joys – and with the UK going through a very difficult time socially and politically right now, pasta is the perfect comfort food.” Penne as an antidote to politics? That gets our vote.