Sunday, 16 January 2011

Zucca Again


My original visit to Zucca was boozy and blurry, and I came away from it knowing I'd had a fantastic meal but slightly hazy on the finer details. Five months later, I finally made it back for lunch. The place was buzzing, families out with young children and couples lunching. Prices have crept up since I was last here, but it still made for extremely good value as my starter of smoked eel on bruschetta came in at £4.25. Generous streaks of smoky, oily fish nestled amongst the finely sliced fennel, bursts of brine and saltiness from the capers. I only wished for a bit of acidity for balance.

I couldn't come to Zucca and not have one of their pastas; the special of the day was oxtail rigatoni. I was under the impression that rigatoni were big flappy tubes, whereas these seemed very mini. Either way, the pasta was cooked perfectly, enrobed in the deeply meaty sauce and topped generously with Parmesan. It was a healthy starter portion at £7 and towards the end I regretted the previous gorge on foccacia dipped in their gorgeously fruity olive oil.


I'm a huge fan of polenta so I couldn't resist the slow-cooked octopus with wet polenta. The octopus was deliciously tender in its tomato sauce, the polenta surrounded with more of that olive oil but I felt it a bit one dimensional and it could have done with another texture. Again, my companion had the much-lauded veal chop; again, I was insanely jealous.

Stuffed to the brim we declined dessert and opted for mint tea instead. At £40 per head including a bottle of wine, it's not cheap but for the quality of the food, it's definitely good value.

Zucca

184 Bermondsey Street,
London SE1 3TQ

Tel: 020 7378 6809

10 comments:

Ollie said...

That octopus does look bloody good but get what you mean about texture - needs something with a bit of crunch. Lovely review.

Greedy Diva said...

Sounds fantastic. I really want to go to Zucca - still. I tried Tinello for the first time last week and loved it, but I think Zucca is more casual (without losing quality) so that really appeals.

Chris said...

I think prices have crept up since I went (in the first couple of weeks) but still looks good. I'd still rather go here than most other Italian restaurants.

fabhat said...

If you want a cheaper version - which is also fabulous - try their daytime only operation called the Maltings Cafe. It's on Tower Bridge Rd and has really good lunch options like grilled fish or stews for about £8 max to eat in, plus great sandwiches for takeout. Get's pretty booked up at lunchtime though...

Swedish Meatball said...

That oxtail rigatoni is making me drool. I obviously need to step away from the computer and get me some lunch. Also, I'm interested in the veal chop your friend had - what's it like?

Pavel said...

You have no idea how good that Rigatoni looks to me write now... I'm craving cheesy pasta after my ridiculous january purging.

The rest of it looks pretty fantastic as well I have to say!

Mzungu said...

I'm still trying to make time to visit Zucca. Need to get my butt in gear.

London Lady said...

The eel looks fantastic. This will have to be on my list to order!

Kitchen Stools Direct said...

Oh, wow, I should have eaten before looking at those pictures. That rigatoni looks wonderful. I suddenly feel the need to go cook something!

Jessica said...

I too believe it should be flappy tubes. Can't believe I haven't been yet but still find it quite hard to choose to go to an italian resto as don't eat out so much any more. I need more money OR to get back to that stage when I was proud with piles and piles of food receipts in my wallet and no clothes on my back / heating in my house.