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|Address:||184 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3TQ|
|Tel:||020 7378 6809|
|Price: £47.00||Wine: £26.00|
|Opening Hours:||Tues-Sun 12N-3pm (Sat-Sun -3.30pm) Tues-Sat 6-10pm|
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I don't imagine I'm the only person who treats most recommendations of restaurants with a healthy pinch of salt. At the end of the day the people making the recommendation are unlikely to be just like you, and so are likely to want different things and rate things differently according to their experience, standards and budget, not yours. We travel a lot and very often find ourselves in a new town with no restaurant prearranged, so over the years we've sought a lot of suggestions yet I can count on the fingers of one hand when the visit has delighted us. We visited Zucca on a recommendation, this time from a person whose job ensures that they understand great food and appreciate quality and imagination. And it turned out to be the exception that proves the rule- a delightful first visit.
We ate six courses between the two of us, five savoury and one dessert. Each one of those courses was interesting, quality food, presented nicely and there was absolutely nothing about any of these courses that you could say was just average. Even a relatively mundane dish like the veal ragu with pappardelle was prepared to an unusually high standard. And as for how they manage to create so much flavour and interest in chickpeas, well I just don't know how they did that. Service was brisk and attentive and our three courses and coffee lasted 90 minutes which we think was about right. The restaurant was close to empty when we arrived for our early lunch, but full when we left.
The place itself is modern , and without any airs and graces or overt luxury. The premises may convey the image they want but I'll bet that a few have sat down here wondering whether they really are going to get an outstanding meal. Once you start eating, the place is just fine. My only little gripe concerns wine pricing. Food prices are low for dishes of this quality. The wine prices are not, and this creates a slight dissonance between the food and drink sides of the menu. It would be very easy to walk out of Zucca with a food bill for two courses each of under £50. The wine list, interesting though it is ( and we thoroughly enjoyed our Negroamaro) has very little under £30. In total value for money is about right we thought ( our bill for 3 courses each, wine and coffee came to £120 including service) but its balanced differently from the way most restaurants do it, thats all. Finally I'd prefer it if there was a menu on the website. I appreciate the menu changes daily but frankly its the work of moments to slot this onto the site and give at least some idea of the style of food you can expect.
We thought it was great, and we'll look forward to going back.