Wow. Imaginative menu and an uber cool buzz - this place got my attention and held it!
6 of us got a table on a Wednesday evening to celebrate my housemate's birthday, sitting right next to the floor-to-ceiling windows for a view I'll call 'monsoon on cobblestones'. Luckily my seat faced inwards, so I could enjoy the open plan kitchen and classy décor - minimalist without being cold, all clean lines and soft edges. It's one of those places where every party seems to be having a great time and you kinda want to pull up a chair and join in the conversation.
If the atmosphere hums then it's the food that sings, right from the olive oil and bread board (in 3 types yay) through a range of reasonably-priced antipasti which the waitress kept recommending and we kept saying yes. The sea bass carpaccio and the blackened octopus dish stood out here, and I think I finished one of the burrata dishes all by myself.
Eventually someone had the willpower to call a halt to move to mains; cue yummy homemade pappardelle that melted in your mouth stuffed with a flavourful pheasant ragu. I think the menu changes regularly but others had the squid, the pork belly and a seafood-based spaghetti dish which they all seemed pretty pleased with. Have to say I'm not sure how well veggies would fare but for less restricted eaters and happy sharers this is a really interesting menu.
The taste adventure was nicely topped off with the fact the wine was excellent - the waitress gave us some recs and even let us try a couple first which was a really nice touch! Service was generally attentive and flexible - they were happy for us to sneak up to the counter individually to pay without the birthday girl noticing she was being treated :)
It's not an everyday/drop-in place so prices are in the semi-expensive camp, particularly if you try the wine (and you should). Perhaps the first Italian I've been happy paying up for. You'll know what you're getting into though because you'll have booked in advance. It's a Bermondsey gem I'll be revisiting - your biggest issue with it may well be getting a table!
We came here for some very last minute "oops we forgot to ate" food and so were about 30 mins before they were closing up. The place was still rammed, but felt like they rushed us on everything, hence the loss of a star.
However, the recommended wine was beautiful.
The meat eaters were in seventh heaven.
The fish eater was thoroughly impressed
Me as a vegetarian thought it was adequate. far too overpriced for pasta and a sauce. Alas that is the bane of all vegetarians in Italian restaurants that don't want Pizza!!
Really nice restaurant though. very smart and airy
Saw good things about this place on yelp and decided to make my third reservation before actually setting foot on London soil. It's awesome to see that they are part of the slow food movement. It is a very busy place. It was somewhat full when we got in and was completely full halfway during our lunch. I love how all meals are super long, but sometimes it's a little too long.
The bread they brought out was lovely, housemade and delicious. For our apps we had the burrata and the zucca fritti. The burrata was good. Anytime I see burrata on the menu, I'm going to order it. It was covered in olive oil and some greens. It kind of looked like bok choy- so I'm not sure exactly what it was. While it was deliciously creamy and salty, something was missing. It needed a bit of acid to brighten the flavors a little. While still really good, the best burrata I've had was at the Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid (it hit all the right notes - creamy, salty, sweet, bright). The zucca fritti was really good, too. A little too much salt sprinkled on top, but well done. It's their version of sweet potato and sage tempura. Perfectly crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.
For our mains we got the tagliatelle with gorgonzola and hazelnut and the chitarra with venison ragu. Both pastas were lovely and cooked perfectly. Nice and toothsome to the bite. My only complaints? The tables are really close to each other. SO close that we could hear everything the table next to us were saying and that we were almost part of their convos. And that they don't have take away boxes. And the waitress seemed almost angry that we wanted to take our food to go.
One of my favourite Italian places in London, but it could be because I live South of the river, as it is a bit of a trek from London Bridge station or Borough Station on foot!
Located on a village-y street, it does get full during popular times.
The staff are friendly, service is efficient, and the place has a very light and airy feel to it especially during the daytime, when lots of light comes in through the floor to ceiling windows looking out into the street.
Prices are reasonable, and the food is pretty good especially the pasta. Its not outstanding, but its above average quality in London.
It isn't difficult but you do need to book a few weeks in advance if you want a reservation for a weekend evening. Luckily with the help of top table, you can book a reservation about a month ahead and hopefully still works out with your schedule. They're quite flexible with the reservations as we made some last minute changes to the timing and number of people and there was no problem.
Our table wasn't ready when we got there and wish there was a bar as we would've liked to start with a bit of wine before dinner but luckily we were seated quite early. Now on the food
Zucca - Pretty good, wish I had a little more
Squid stew - My favorite starter that we shared
Cheese - I forget what kind it was, it was nice and mild
Seabass Ceviche like thing - This was really good but having difficulty remembering it.
For my main, I had the mussels with a spicy tomato sauce and it was amazing. The ingredients were so fresh and absolutely delicious. I think the menu is seasonal but I'd highly recommend this.
My friend moved round the corner from here months ago but we only managed to get a reservation last night. It was worth the wait.
The food was delicious and the service was spot on - not 'in your face' but always close by for that extra glass of wine, menu clarification, jug of tap water and so on.
I had a simple starter of some cured meat followed by the special venison ravioli. My main, tuscan sausages, was like some gourmet version of Baked Beans and sausages on toast. It was all superb.
The blood orange cake for dessert was huge but the other portions were not massive, 4 courses was not too difficult a task. Prices are reasonable for this quality of food.
I wanna go again...
This place is great Italian food in an easy going atmosphere. The wait staff were really helpful and as we couldn't decide what we wanted suggested we treated the menu Tapas style, with a selection of starters and splitting a main course.
The bread, with perfectly salty focaccia, was served with an amazing olive oil. Food was served at a decent pace. In the end we left feeling very pleasantly full having spent less than what we had expected to.
Fantastic and modern italian food, in a low-key and understated setting.
My British foodie cousin made a reservation here, and told us it was a must try, and she was convincing. But after the first bite, we knew there was no argument. Zucca is fantastic.
Our starters included zucca fritti, an insanely delicious take on tempura and a raw fish dish that was delicate and wonderfully subtle. We shared a pasta dish with a pork ragu that was toothsome and lovely. The pork loin entree was tender but a bit overdone.
The wine recommended was excellent and the service was completely attentive --marvelous. The dessert was fantastic. A night out on Bermondsey Street with its cobblestones, character, closeness to London bridge, and fantastic cocktails (for instance, at nearby favorite, Village East) is not to be missed once the sun goes down, and the atmosphere and food at Zucca makes this area a destination.
LOVED Zucca's clean, bright, spacious decor. DELICIOUS Italian food. Very simple- great ingredients. GREAT value for money if you want to go somewhere for a special treat but don't want to worry about forking out hundreds! When i went we had 2 starters, 2 mains, one dessert and 3 glasses of wine for approx £80.
Top dish for me: Seafood risotto- undescribably yummy.
I need to return soon as I hear their truffle pasta is to die for.. drewling at the very thought....
Excellent italian place in Bermondsey St., with a selection of high quality dishes.
This place don't have a huge menu, and at the same time it's not the usual menu you'll find in a standard italian restaurant. Its menu is very focused and there are some very refined and selected dishes with great taste and good serving.
For example the "spezzatino", a typical italian recipe with small boneless pieces of meat and red wine, and it was incredibly tender and with a great taste.
AMBIENT AND SERVICE
I walk by there every evening and it's always full. I strongly advise to book beforehand.
Inside, the environment has a white tone and simple lines, it's very classy and the waiters are really gentle but not invasive and they are ready to answer any question you might have on the food selection. They may have also some special dishes not on the menu, prepared only for that day. They might be worth trying.
Excellent place for an uncommon and tasteful italian dinner.
Went for dinner last night. Place was pretty busy and I would recommend booking, particularly on a weekend evening.
It is a large airy, open plan space with the kitchen open to all. The tables were tight but the noise was a very acceptable level. The service was relaxed and fun without being in your face.
However, the star of the evening was the food! We had a selection of starters to share as suggested by the waiter. Grilled fennel with prosciutto, some mozzarella with a Norma (aubergine) side, butternut squash fritters and a tasty salad - all cooked to perfection, perfectly seasoned and dressed. We had read that the veal chops were a specialty and they didn't let us down! Accompanied by spinach and a subtle lemon taste they were top notch. One of the party had the haddock with chickpeas and said it was excellent too. Desserts were gooseberry tart, homemade ice cream with an expresso poured on the top and a wonderful panna cotta (which we all agreed was our fave).
Overall amazing quality food. The chef is from River Cafe and it shows. He selects top notch ingredients and allows them to speak for themselves.
And the best bit? The price - starters were £4-5 and mains were £11-14. I doubt there is a better meal in London at this price - a total steal! Needless to say we shall be returning!
This place may not be Tayyabs, but it might be my second-favorite restaurant in London, at least at the time of writing this.
High-quality ingredients, very pleasant and bright surroundings, and delicious flavor combinations at ridiculously affordable-for-London prices. My whole group was fawning over the whole meal. The portions were gigantic and we couldn't even finish our delicious food. If you're looking for a fun dinner with friends or upscale yet affordable night out, this would be a top recommendation.
Gluten-free notes: Almost everything on the menu is gluten-free. When I went, there was only one non-GF appetizer, plus the handmade wheaty pasta. Everything else was naturally gluten-free.
I've heard great things about Zucca and my dinner lived up to expectations. Reservations are a bit hard to get but I was lucky enough to snag a table on a Friday night.
Fantastic food and service - some of the best Italian food I've had in London. Simple dishes but executed perfectly. The pumpkin fritters and cripsy pork belly were delicious, and the foccacia was light and fluffy. The amuse bouche of frittata was okay but a bit bland.
The mains are HUGE. We went for the veal chop and a main course portion of tagliatelle with duck ragu...the two of us had serious issues trying to finish the two plates after starters. The veal chop was probably the size of my face - slight exaggeration, but you get the idea. I would've preferred it a bit more on the pink side (it was a bit tough), so I was let down by the dish. The pasta though was brilliant - al dente, and the ragu was so tasty. I kept eyeing the dishes other tables ordered - the cod and clams and octopus stew caught my eye.
Even though we were stuffed, we couldn't resist dessert - chocolate semifreddo wtih hazelnut ice-cream. Who can say no to that!? Not too heavy, and with caramelised hazelnuts crushed on top it was the right finish to a great meal.
I'll definitely be returning in the near future for the zucca fritti, pasta and to try out the other mains. Oh, and make sure you arrive hungry if you want to sample as much as you can!
It has been a little while in which I can honestly say I ate somewhere and was really really impressed. Like really impressed to the point that I still have wet dreams about the bread they offered as we read the menu, or the wines they suggested and the panna cotta that was the size of my hand.
Zucca was all of these things. I have been twice. First in February and secondly on the night of the Royal Wedding. I wanted to be sure about it before I wrote a review.
I totally echo what the Grumblinggourmet has said about this place as wel as everyone else.
But my own feelings are that Zucca is somewhere that is a new and valuble asset in London's culinary crown jewels.
Just imagine a place that offers 3 types of home made bread witha generous size dish of exquisite olive oil, then starters that are as low as £4! Pasta that is freshly made and created with flavour and love in each mouthful as well as everything being in season.
This place knocks the spots off 80% of the Italian restaurants found in London and again manages to make beautiful food without leaving you bankrupt. The most expensive main is around £15...by and large. Even if it was £20 for a main it would be money well spent.
The staff are friendly and nearly seducing when telling you about daily specials, they smile and speak with such enthusiasm and passion. The smells that greet you on arrival leave you loosening your belt before you are seated at your table.
I will forever be indebted to this place for having a menu so wonderful that my beloved ordered pasta with ragu here. This is a huge thing as since we have been together she has been telling me how any type of minced meat she won't eat but Zucca seduced her and now she see's what I was talking about! Done right, ragu is stupendous and a culinary hug from a surrogate Italian Mama.
On my last visit we shared some prawns, some zucca fritti, bufala mozarella, spinach and lentils and some pasta with ragu. It was heaven and more. We shared a panna cotta which was so big it would have given Pamela Anderson a run for her money. It was vanilla, creamy joy that made you want to lick the plate clean and beg for more.
A good dessert should make you beg and want to forget the calories that are going to take the next 3 weeks to shift.
The tables here book up fast so whenever there is an opening, go! You won't be disappointed and you will want to come again and again.
I had my first experience of Zucca last night with some friends despite living around the corner from this gem of a restaurant.
I consider myself an avid foodie, so having read quite a few reviews about Zucca, my expectations were pretty high.
We ordered the more popular dishes we had read about, namely the Sea Bream Carpaccio and the Veal Chops - both of which were amazing, but don't miss the deliciously gorgeous Octopus with Peppers and Char-grilled Squid with Fennel too...oh and the Zucca Fritti - Yum!!!
The food is fresh, portions generous but the best part was the very reasonable bill!
I will definitely be back more often, and so glad I have discovered my new favourite restaurant in the neighbourhood!
Simply put, outstanding. A fun vibe, with a large open kitchen that spans the restaurant and a great buzz. The wine list was also impressive: hundreds of choices across Italy, including a few obscure but tasty choices of beer. But it was with the food that Zucca really hit it out of the park. Our multi-course meal featured a number of highlights: the fried zucca (pumpkin), a delicious selection of raw fish, a dynamite pappardelle with a rich but not too filling lamb ragu, a gorgeously caramelized and cooked veal chop (as good as I have had anywhere in London)... a panna cotta that melted in your mouth. And at a compelling price point to boot, with a four course meal including plenty of good wine coming in around 70 GBP/person.
Zucca opened earlier in the year to rave reviews from bloggers and critics alike. Many had no idea how they could create their homely yet modern Italian cuisine at the prices they were charging, many of the same people also raved about the quality of the simple ingredients and this man, reading the bundles of food porn produced, licked his lips and vowed to get there, and soon. Well time moved on, and other places opened, and this man didn't get down there (though close) so it was with pleasure while sculling round for somewhere to go last week that this man was reminded of the little (still fairly new) cozy, modern and cheap Italian on Bermondsey Street.
Slightly uncomfortable sub-Habitat chairs aside, the space is a welcoming one. Light walls and exposed brick link the floor to ceiling windows that mirror the open kitchen across the rear. The tables are small and close together, but the high ceilings don't allow the volume to get too loud or your neighbours conversations too intrusive.
And the food? Well I've already booked my return. It's a rare place that makes you feel like that, but Zucca is the restaurant equivalent of a huge hug from an old family friend. And I want another hug. We started, encouraged by the friendly, observant and on the ball waitress, to go for a selection of shared starters. Prosciutto di Parma with a perfectly ripe fig was good, two excellent ingredients in harmonious marriage. Cardoons, celery like sticks of artichoke thistle a rare sight on a menu, came slathered in a thick and slightly boozy fondue cheese which proved perfect for being mopped up by the real star of the starters, the Zucca Fritti. Sticks of pumpkin, squash and carrot with the odd leaf of zingy basil came cooked in a tempura light batter and piled high. The healthiest fried food I've ever had and for a jaw dropping £3 a plate. This would be my lunch, daily, if I lived in the neighbourhood.
You have the option of a pasta course, either before or instead of the main, a bold and light chicory, lemon and gorgonzola taglierini that both companions opted for, and an intriguing bucatini, a spaghetti-like shape with a hollow centre, served with a seasonal pheasant sauce. The gamey notes continued into the carne, where I went for a whole partridge, served with slightly pointless and bland potatoes (the nearest to a duff note I had). Tender as I've had, with a rich stickiness on the breast and a salty umami-filled gravy made from the juices. We shared a homemade tiramisu, rich and creamy, and a panna cotta with poached pear, illiteratively pleasing but as a dessert just too bland for my palate. For £25 a head, it felt like we were committing theft.
The wild mushroom and spaghetti was delicious - and bearing in mind that they seemed to have sourced the mushrooms from nearby Borough Market (which is eye wateringly expensive), I thought £10 for the small dish was pretty reasonable. Definitely get the salted caramel and pistachio ice creams!
Zucca serves fairly basic Italian fair but it's done very well. We tried a number of different apps and the aubergine and mozzarella really stood out for me. Again , simple but well executed. Their signature dish is 'Zucca Friti' which is a pumpkin tempura. Overall I thought the meal was good and it was great value.
Here the complete review and photos:
hungryinlondon.com/2011/… I think I was one of the first blogger (or even the very first?) to write about Zucca just a couple of weeks after it had opened and it was at the same time one of my first posts. I have to admit that this was by chance rather than culinary instinct. I used to live just around the corner and walked past this new Italian restaurant every day on my way to work and thought it looked nice. There we go. Zucca in its early days was not as faultless as it has been on my recent visits. In the post from April 2010 I am for example criticizing their pasta being overcooked and their dessert bad (my embarrassing early attempts as a blogger here). I have been at Zucca many times since and have always loved the food. Have just been back again for a boozy Sunday lunch and thought it is time to let you all know that 1. Zucca is not resting on its laurels (bib gourmand and raving reviews) but has kept and possibly even raised its standard 2. Zucca has only marginally increased its prices since the opening 1.5 years ago (about 0.5-2 pounds I guess) 3. Zucca is still my favourite Italian in London by far. 4. The (well-deserved) Zucca hype has resulted in big difficulties getting a table. No place for spontaneity,book well in advance! Our meal: We were served tasty,fluffy and moreish frittata as an amuse bouche. You seriously can't go low on carbs at Zucca,the two choices of bread and the home made grissini were gorgeous and tasted even better soaked with Zucca's particularly flavoursome olive oil. The Mixed Salad was wonderfully fresh and aromatic and consisted of a range of different Italian leaves. The Crab Bruschetta might not have been one of the prettiest dishes but all the more tasty. I particularly loved the soft and creamy Mozarella which came with yellow courgette,capers,sorrel and plenty of above mentioned tangy olive oil. You just have to admire Zucca's ability to make something so toothsome and unique from so few and rather simple ingredients. If I had to choose one dish I liked the least,it would have been the Taglierini. They pasta was perfectly al dente and so were the chanterelles,but I thought the sauce was a bit to acidic and strong and didn't compliment the mushrooms as well as it could have done. Nevertheless an accomplished dish which I very happily ate. The Grilled White Sea Bass was truly sapid. Cooked to the point,the fish fell apart in chunky flakes of gorgousness. It came served on a bed of Swiss chard and firm to bite lentils which were very nicely seasoned. Extremely interesting was the combination with the tart rhubarb. I am not sure this really worked 100% looking at it objectively,but I personally tremendously enjoyed this unusual flavour combination. I had eaten far too healthy so far,so I almost HAD to opt for the Chocolate Cake. What a piece of chocolatey heaven this was! The rich and dark and smooth (and very naughty) cake was only occasionally interrupted by whole hazelnuts that were hidden in its midth. so sad the meal is over
I have basically nothing more to add,apart from Please don't go to Zucca so they always have a table for me!
I had tried to secure a table at Zucca on a couple of previous occasions without success, but after cancelling a camping trip last weekend I finally got lucky and bagged a table for Saturday lunch.
After all the good things I had heard about Zucca, from the likes of the well-respected Grumbling Gourmet, my expectations were high and I was really looking forward to the prospect of a proper Italian blow out I was not disappointed.
We arrived at around 1pm and the restaurant was already pretty busy. We received a warm welcome from the girl on the front desk and we were quickly shown to our table in the very attractive, white themed, minimalist room. The floor to ceiling windows, looking out onto bustling Bermondsey Street, make this a very light and airy room while the open plan kitchen provides a bit of drama and an alternative focal point. My kind of space.
Getting into the groove I ordered a Negroni while we had a look at the short, very good looking menu. I'm fond of a Negroni and this one was very well made and like everything we ordered at Zucca it came with a very reasonable price tag.
The menu was one of those where you take a look and think, oh hell I just want to order everything. Our difficulties in making a choice were compounded when our very charming waitress ran us through the couple of additional specials of the day. We had to ask for another ten minutes to allow us to come to decision oh such a sweet dilemma.
After much debate we decided to major on the antipasti and check out the pasta special which meant we would have to try out the meat and fish plates on another occasion.
With the arrival of a selection of three types of bread, which included a particularly flavoursome crispy, focaccia, I was really getting into the mood and decided that something with a few bubbles was required to help wash all this fine food down. They had reasonably priced bottle of Franciacorta Prestige Cuvee Ca' Del Bosco on the wine list which had been one of our favourite wine discoveries during our holiday in Italy last year so it seemed rude not to take this opportunity to reacquainted ourselves with this lovely fizz from Lombardy
Our antipasti soon arrived and it was big smiles all round as we tucked into the lovely Zucca fritti; delicate but decent sized crescents of pumpkin encased a lovely thin, crisp batter. This was a bit too much even for two hungry folk and would easily feed four if you order a selection of antipasti. The mozzarella with Sicilian aubergines was also very tasty and teamed up well with our final starter of prosciutto with figs. Top quality ingredients, handled with care, dressed with a careful hand and the minimum of fuss made for three great dishes.
After a short pause it was onto the main event of tagliatelle with a veal ragu. A plateful of silky, velvety pasta with just a little bite and a subtle sauce which had a real depth of flavour. To say this dish was moreish does not do it justice; as stuffed as I was I was still wiping up every last bit of sauce with my bread at the end of my meal!! I commented to B that when compared to many of the pasta dishes we had in Italy they seemed to be a little heavy on the sauce in Zucca; don't complain she replied and I must agree that when it's this good you want plenty of sauce.
To finish it was ice cream which came with a shot of espresso; just the thing to round off a wonderful lunch.
By now we were as happy as Larry and in such good spirits that a bit of retail therapy seemed like a fine idea. We paused to thank the lovely staff, booked a table for lunch the following weekend and then headed North.
Simply the best Italian restaurant south of the river. No need to say more.
Great selection of Italian wines, small menus and fresh ingredients make this restaurant one of the best in the area. Loved the veal on spinach. Desserts were a bit of a disappointment compared to the other courses. Great otherwise
have eaten at Zucca about 5 times since they opened (I work in the area) and have always been really impressed by the elegant and simple dishes that don't try too hard to be clever, but rely instead on fresh and well-prepared ingredients. The service and decor also seem to follow a similiar path of understated quality and simplicity, so don't expect to be swarmed by waiters, or to be bowled over by an overwhelming decor. Instead expect a great restaurant with a frequently changing menu and a nice relaxed setting that will have you coming back for more! Word of warning: book in advance!
OK, so everyone who is anyone has reviewed Zucca by now, so I can't pretend to have any special insight. Except it was GOOD! Really good. And I speak as someone who's just had weeks of dental surgery and is still unable to eat anything hard, crunchy or chewy, which cut out around half of the menu. I am also allergic to chilli, which cut out about another 40%. Luckily everything we did have was fantastic. Zucca fritti, fine: but the day's pasta special - with saffron butter sauce and mussels, was delicious. And they didn't baulk at bringing me some pecorino on the side (yes, I know, no cheese with fish but hey, I'm the one with the tooth problems! Work with me here...) For dessert, for naturally there was to be dessert, the ricotta amaretti chocolate cake, which was moist and not overly sweet and lighter than it looked. Which isn't always a good thing, but in this case, absolutely right. I left happy. Having made my reservation 3 months ago, it was definitely worth the wait.
great wines, pastas, and pizzas. really good restaurant, beautiful room
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