It has been a while since I’ve been to a good Italian restaurant in London, so how pleased was I to hear that one had opened up literally around the corner from my flat!
Zucca, meaning ‘pumpkin’ in Italian is the brain child of Sam Harris, owner of Maltings Cafe, another little gem nearby on Tower Bridge Road. Having done a short stint at the River Cafe over 10 years ago, his new venture has received wide acclaim and comparison to the London institution, some say primarily due to his fresh modern take on Italian food, and others say it’s the decor of the restaurant as a whole, with its pure white furnishings and open plan kitchen taking up one side of the restaurant.
I finally managed to get a booking on their big table this week – a table for 8, to celebrate my 25th Birthday 😉 and not one of us left disappointed.
Despite a small menu, there was a decent choice amongst their offerings to cater for all tastes on our table, and in typical Gourmet Belly style, we pretty much ordered everything on the ‘Antipasti’ section so we could graze. From the Sweet and Sour Sardines, Figs with Parma Ham, Zucca Fritti, the Clams with Samphire special, and the heavenly Sea Bream Carpaccio…everything was surprisingly well portioned and excellent value ranging from £3 – £4.15 per dish. Bargain!!
Mains equally appealed, with the only downside being that the Halibut on Samphire had sold out. Bummer for some, but I had done my research and I was definitely not deflecting from the plan. I was going for their signature Veal Chop served with wilted spinach. Perfectly succulent, this was probably the best piece of Veal I had ever had in my life, reminding me of my recent Florentine steak experience in Florence…seasoned so simply with lemon and salt, each bite was devoured with a “Mmmmm”. Others on the table ordered Char Grilled Squid with Fennel and Rocket and another ordering Octopus with Peppers. All absolutely delicious.
At £30 a head for 3 bottles of mid priced wines and some very content bellies across the table, we all left grabbing business cards from the front desk and planning when we would be able to squeeze in the next Zucca session. I for one was quietly chuffed that I had found my new favourite Italian restaurant…a stones-throw away from home. Smart and minimal, but cosy with a great vibe too – the perfect little date place should you ever need one 😉
**UPDATE – I went back to Zucca later the same week after securing a last-minute table for two. We re-ordered the more memorable dishes of Zucca Fritti and Sea Bream Carparccio, but also ordered the Mozzarella Trapanese and the Bugatoni Pasta too. Twice in a week is a bit piggish, but the Gourmet Belly left once again…happy!!
Did You Know:
- Chef/Proprietor Sam Harris has also done time at Bibendem – one of the original Conran restaurants in Chelsea, and worked as an Egon Ronay inspector visiting the best restaurants in Britain.