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|Address:||44 Cloth Fair, London EC1A 7JQ|
|Tel:||020 3542 2771|
|Price: £30.00||Wine: £13.50|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sat 12N-10.30pm (Sat 5pm- )|
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When I saw that in this quiet thoroughfare an organic, vegetarian Italian restaurant was planning to open… well I thought that this would be a short-lived venture. Having lunched here on an almost weekly basis since Amico Bio opened, my sincere wish is to be proved utterly wrong.
First, the food is delicious. It is fresh, simply cooked, imaginative, light and just so out of the ordinary; it really is a pleasure to eat. I recently for the first time also tried the wine (I try to go easy during the week…) and I can testify that the organic Sangiovese was quite impressive – especially after about 20 minutes when the bouquet and taste started to open. Second, the service is friendly, knowledgeable and genuinely keen to please. The chef is also clearly very committed to his craft with much of the more exotic ingeredients (sorry to show my lack of veggie credentials, but I had never even heard of “Seitan” before… its colour is pastel green, its consistency reminds me of mushrooms) sourced from the family in Naples. Third, the value for money is exceptional. An old friend (who is quite demanding in terms of food and drink) and I ate what was essentially a three course meal (two “starter” courses and a light “main”) with wine (see above) and service… for well under £30 per head. By the way, the zucchini fritti were, my friend declared, the best he had ever tasted. I say the same for the Arancini…
The drawback has so far been a slight lack of atmosphere which is partly a reflection on the newness of the business, and partly on what I perceive to be prejudice on the part of meat eaters to forego meat – but both my friend and I are meat eaters and we made no sacrifices in satisfaction to eat at this little gem of a place.