To quote my girlfriend, “Oh my God … I’m in heaven.” Yeah, our visit to this new(ish) Bermondsey Street Italian restaurant yielded a great lunch. A couple of bites off her plate and I could see what she was OMGing about. Kemey had selected exceptionally well from Antico’s menu: scallop carpaccio with chives and lime dressing (£8) for a starter and pan roasted wild black bream with tomatoes, capers, olives and spinach (£15) for her main. The scallops were delicate morsels of wow and the bream (that bream!) was similarly delicate but firm in texture and a bit smoky in flavour.
Me? I went with the prawn and squid fritti with fresh chilli and basil aioli (£6) to begin and a plate of clam linguine with chilli, garlic and parsley (£13) for my second course. Both were very good – the linguine was especially spot on and just what I was hoping for – but I have to admit K’s choice of dishes stole the show.
A bottle of 2009 Soave Classico “Vigneti di Foscarino” DOC (£44.0) went down almost perfectly alongside our food and helped set a merry mood for our lazy lucky duck midweek lunch. As for puds, a well above standard tiramisu (£5) charmed as did an ample bowl of caramel gelato (£4). Antico’s dining area is contemporary and comfortable. The vibe is modern Italian trattoria minus any “momma mia” kitsch and infused instead with a healthy dose of relaxed South London calm. During our visit, our server was as friendly, efficient and helpful as anyone could hope for.
Prices came across as a teensy bit expensive: £13 for a plate of pasta no matter how wonderful might seem a lot to pay for some folks. But as Antico owner Nick Crispini puts it “pasta is easy to make but difficult to master.” I must admit his kitchen seemed to have things down pat with my linguine – just al dente enough to suit any Italian while soft enough for the average Brit. And then the clams, the seasoning – just right!
I’d definitely go back and have no qualms about recommending. I got the strong impression you can dine here assured that quality of food and service will be to a high standard. And, of course, it’s going to need to stay that way. Situated on Bermondsey Street, Antico has more than an almost daunting share of amazingly delicious competition.
Cooing about a divine meal could be done at any number of restos nearby – and at a few different price points. Locals ought to be chuffed to have a new fantastic Italian eatery round the corner. Destination diners should weigh all their delectable options in this foodiest of foodie quarters but by no means rule ambitious Antico out.
Antico Restaurant & Lounge Bar is located at 214 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ. Visit the restaurant online at antico-london.co.uk.