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|Address:||214 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3TQ|
|Tel:||020 7407 4682|
|Price: £42.00||Wine: £18.00|
|Opening Hours:||Tues-Sun 12N-3pm (Sun -3.30pm) 6-10.30pm (Sun -9.30pm)|
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We’re always being told first impressions count – sadly Antico didn’t do to well in this regard with me and I’m not sure I’ll be giving it a second chance.
The room itself is nice enough – a mix of dark wood, exposed brick and white paint – though it’s small (or compact as an early 90’s estate agent would have said) with too many tables packed in. Those closely packed tables are the source of the main downside – the noise – which is so loud it’s like trying to eat your dinner in a busy west end bar at 8pm on a Friday night; we tried shouting at each other across the table and got bored with it quite quickly, though we could hear the people all around us all too well.
Presumably the noise was also the reason they managed to mess up our order, though doesn’t excuse the other sloppy bits of the service. Once seated we waited far too long to get drinks and the first staff member who eventually stopped didn’t offer to help, instead just told us someone would be along in a minute. Ages past before someone took an order and just as long again before the drinks arrived and it was only at our insistence at that point that food orders were taken. After another long wait we were informed that ‘there has been a bit of an error with your starters’ – we were at least offered a free drink and some bread (which you normally have to pay for – and it’s not very good when you have paid) and eventually starters made an appearance. At least they were polite and pleasant so it lifted the awful to poor, but really not getting the basics even close to right is unfortunate.
I started with asparagus and wild garlic risotto – the consistency was rather more rice pudding than risotto though the tastes themselves were fine and the portion was generous. This was followed by pan fried bream with capers, olives and tomatoes – sadly the fish was just a touch over cooked and also really bland – it’s a charge that can often be levelled at fish, but go somewhere like Pollen Street Social to see how great fish can be when it’s cooked well. Dessert was raspberry and grappa panacotta; the overwhelming taste was of cheap alcohol poured in with a very heavy hand and the raspberries just sat atop a small cup of runny panacotta – it can be a great dessert when done properly, but this wasn’t.
The main plus point was that it was quite cheap – at around £45 per head for 3 courses, wine, water and service and the free drink etc made things seem a bit better, though I would have preferred to have avoided the errors that caused us to get this.
Bermondsey Street has a lot of options, but Zucca, Delfina etc are quite a way ahead of this for food, service and atmosphere and you’d be far better going to any of them ahead of Antico – I won’t be making the same mistake again.