Italian food for me is at its best home made with quality ingredients. Maybe that’s also why I’ve left London’s Italian dining scene pretty much untouched except for the occasional pizza which is difficult to do at home without a proper oven. I felt it was time for a change and explore what is out there other than pizza. This night the destination was Il Bordello, a local Italian restaurant in Wapping I’ve heard good things about.
Wapping is a residential neighbourhood, a dead silent one on top of that. The only sign of life is the restaurant emitting warm glow in the winter darkness. The first observation once inside was the age of the waiters which must average above 40. This usually means a three things: knowledge, arrogance and smooth service. Here it was true, false, true. The interior is simple and not too thought out. No fancy furniture or tableware. Also, you probably won’t raise any eyebrows if you laugh too loud or drop a fork on the ground, nobody cares here. Just like home!
On the menu you will see Italian classics lined up one after another. Nothing flashy but Italian comfort food. On the wine list the only old world country represented is Italy with reds and whites to choose from for a reasonable price. Representing the new world Australia, Chile, South Africa and New Zealand each contributes with one white and one red.
Parma ham with Cantaloupe was a refreshing way to start a meal. I’m not a big fan of involving fruits in starter or main because of the sweetness they often bring. This was not too bad although quarter of a cantaloupe melon on the plate was pushing the limits. More parma ham could definitely have balanced it out, but to be more realistic they could have spared on the melon.
This is how a plate of robust pasta can look like and after the first bite, should taste like. The linguine had the right bounciness. It was cooked in a tomato based sauce with shrimps, mussels and squid mixed into it. Flavours of herbs and seafood were well blended with no disturbing acidity from the tomato sauce.
G had the Linguine Sea Scallop which was an equally sized serving. Whole pieces of scallop were hidden beneath the linguine. The backbone of the dish was the brandy and cream sauce, just enough to give flavour and moist. Another good pasta dish.
For the end of the meal a selection of sorbets, ice creams, cheese and fruits was on offer but the eye catching item on the menu was (of course) the tiramisu.
It turned out to be the best tiramisu I’ve had in my life. The goodness was light, fluffy and had a vibrant sweet bite of alcohol. The balance of sweetness was perfect. This was pure indulgence. Just the appearance of it is enough to seduce even the dessert hater. The size was enough for the two of us after the generous servings of starters and mains.
What started with a long ride down to Wapping turned out to be one of the best value meal I’ve had so far this year. If you want to finish three courses you need to come very hungry. The dining room is well lit up with a lot going on on the floor so it’s good for a meal with family or friends. Il Bordello is more than a neighbourhood restaurant and well worth a small detour for homely well-cooked Italian food.
For more photos from Il Bordello, please visit my Flickr set.
81 Wapping High Street
London E1W 2YN
Tel. +44 0(20) 7481 9950