Our second visit to Zucca, at the lower end of Bermondsey Street, proved even more satisfying than the first. Myself and Claire my delightful partner decided a Valentines’ lunch and a nice walk after in Dulwich Park was a grand idea, hence avoiding any restrictive menus at inflated prices. This eatery is a simple rectangular shaped room with one of the longer sides being windowed, the other an open plan kitchen where you can see the food being plated up and garnished. The design is simple and modern.
An Ercol loveseat in the reception area first alerted me to the place on peering in a window as I often do. I am a self confessed Ercol-olic, British mid-century furniture by an Italian designer (Google their day bed/ studio couch, the chairmakers chair or the easy chair 427 for a few of my personal faves!). A few simple modern paintings and a nice deco-ish clock adorn the walls. Orange glasswear on every second table a nice eccentricity. The new White Cube SE1 gallery is just a few doors up and Jay Joplin, the owner and a sort of Godfather of the modern art scene is apparently a fan.
The food is simple enough but it’s the ingredients that make this place the gem it is. An amuse bouche of frittata alongside an array of breads with out of this world olive oil (bottles for sale £15). Portion aren’t too excessive so we shared some Zucca (pumpkin) fritti to start with followed by a starter sized pasta and then two mains, calves livers with a salse verde (I’d nominate for a signature dish!) and razor clams done simply with some mild chillis and oil.
We skipped desert but were pleased our coffees came with a little sugar hit of mini shortbreads and a peanut brittle. Claire naughtily snaffled more of the same off a table close by just vacated. The clientelle were mostly 40-60 somethings, older than I’d expect in this hipster part of town. This was a near perfect meal in my opinion with only a froth-poor cappucino to fault. The service is attentive and the waiters well informed. And for the moment this is my new favorite restaurant. The bill with a couple of bottles of water came to amost reasonable £54 without service.
Love food novels: have you read Julia and Julia. Brilliant blog/book/film. Also The Debt to Pleasure and Lunch in Paris.
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