Monday, September 24, 2012

London Guide: Antico

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Antico with a few friends.
I've been there twice now and would definitely recommend it.
Down Bermondsey Street near London Bridge, Antico is a simply-styled,
well-priced Italian restaurant.  The restaurant opened toward the beginning of 2012,
and having been there in April and again in September, I can unfortunately say 
they've made a few menu changes that I wish they hadn't.  Oh well, it was still good.

I think that the best Italian food of this style is simply done, 
and they do that right at Antico.

Each time I've been, we've ordered the focaccia bread and Norcerella olives.
The olives are plump and almost sweet, and the bread is thick and oily - both perfect.

The only aperitivo I've tried is the Negroni (gin, Campari, sweet vermouth),
but it was really good (if you like Campari).  The rest of the aperitivi look tasty though.

The first time I went to Antico, I didn't know how good burrata is.
I split the burrata and some grilled squid with a friend.
Don't get me wrong, the squid was good (no longer on the menu), 
but the burrata was great. The large ball of mozzarella and cream was served
with prosciutto, rocket and red pepper,  and I probably would have been happy 
going home without the rest of the meal after eating it.

Unfortunately, when I returned to Antico a couple of weeks ago, 
I found this item on the menu had changed. I ordered the burrata again, 
but this time the ball of burrata itselfwas half the size. 
 This time, it was served with black figs and prosciutto - good in theory, 
but the figs were almost, if not completely, tasteless.  
Fortunately, the rest was still really good.

For the main course, the first time I visited, I had the slow-roasted 
pork shoulder tortelloni with sage butter.  The pasta was perfect and fresh, 
and the pork had so much flavour that the simple butter was enough 
to accompany it - it definitely did not need tomato sauce. 
I would get this again.

The second time, I decided to try something new. The "special shot" that came with 
the venison and pancetta ragu fazzoletti sealed the deal.  I don't know what the
shot was comprised of, except to say that it definitely contained Sambuca, which I'm
not a huge fan of.  Otherwise, I probably would have sipped the shot instead of shooting it,
because the flavour actually did complement the taste of the ragu - quite a fun little game.
The ragu was rich and the fresh pasta, again, was perfect.

I think at this point, I've tried all the desserts on the menu due to sharing,
and they've all been really rich and delicious.  I can't lie though,
my favourite part of the meal always seems to be the cheese board.
The menu now states the board contains "regional cheeses," which 
includes 4-5 cheeses (all very good - especially the gorgonzola),
crispy bread sticks and some kind of garlic jam that's amazing.
I would skip the sweets and just go for the cheese.

Overall, Antico is great for simply-done, fresh Italian food,
for a reasonable price, on a trendy street in SE1.

(All images from Antico)

Ratings: (numbers out of 10, £ out of 4)
Food: 8
Atmosphere: 8
Service: 8
Price: £
Overall experience: 8

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