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The latest restaurant in the Barbican complex places prime Italian ingredients centre-stage – witness the table piled with charcuterie, olives and homemade bread. Osteria is a collaboration between Anthony Demetre (Arbutus, Wild Honey) and Searcys restaurant group. Its second-floor premises may resemble an airport lounge (faux leather chairs, geometric carpet), but the eye-catching menu makes amends. Patrick Leano (ex-Arbutus) produces a seasonal list where plump grilled octopus might be piqued by smoky peppers and earthy potatoes. Another starter, pearlescent sea bream carpaccio, needed more seasoning, but our meaty monkfish main course was much better, teamed with Tuscan beans, orange, and creamy puntarella dotted with salty anchovy. Slow-cooked beef with polenta melted with tenderness, and dessert of moist chocolate and pear tart was just so. Osteria’s allure is boosted by impressive cocktails, hearty Italian wines and helpful staff – it’s time to shunt that visit to The Barbican Centre to the top of your London list.
The Barbican Centre may be a supreme example of Brutalist architecture and a fine place to take in a film or exhibition, but it’s been a barren wasteland for food with branches of Benugo, Cote and other such dens of last resort as your only in-house dining choices up until now. That’s all changed with the arrival of Osteria, an Italian restaurant sequestered away on the second floor in place of what used to be the Gin Joint. Normally, a restaurant from the people behind such superb eateries as Wild Honey and Arbutus would make me giddy with anticipation, but the additional involvement of Searcys – the people behind...
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