Zucca is a modern Italian restaurant on Bermondsey street not far from London Bridge, almost next to the contemporary art gallery White Cube which by the way is a must visit when you’re around. There is no lack of restaurants in the area and it might be worth taking a walk to the nearby Spa Terminus where you will find independent food producers tucked into the railway arches selling their produce.
Walking into the visually peaceful environment of Zucca is not what I’m used to when it comes to Italian restaurants but then I usually go to more casual places for Italian food. Despite the somewhat sterile interior comfort is found in the open kitchen and decor pumpkins spread out in the dining room. After all Zucca means pumpkin in Italian. Booking a table during the weekend is advisable. Shortly after noon the restaurant filled up but without feeling busy.
The concise one page menu offered enough variety to satisfy most tastes at the table. There are a couple of pasta dishes on offer among the mains, all fresh made. For those who crave sweetness at the end they have a separate dessert menu. Although the wine list looked very tempting and contained a few Italian treasures I stayed away from alcohol this time.
A selection of good quality complementary bread is always a positive start of a meal. Offering a small board of different bread Zucca surely didn’t fail this. The grissini had a faint parmesan flavour. The square piece of bread was the most interesting one on the board. It had almost a cake like texture with the moist and slight crumbliness.
Pumpkins were one of the first things I saw when I stepped into the restaurant. It was probably this subliminal seed that led us to order the deep-fried pumpkin. The dish was simply a stack of deep-fried pumpkins, though it was very good pieces of sweetness covered in light batter. Perfect for sharing.
Cold cut meat can never fail. Here we were offered a plate of salami, parma ham, lard, liver and parmesan (I think) crisps. The cured meat was full of flavour and the lard although by itself almost flavourless melted in the mouth.
Pasta was my first step into cooking during my student years and I still cook a fair amount of pasta at home. Therefore I rarely order pasta when I eat out but I couldn’t resist here. I rarely work with fresh pasta (unfortunately) and this was a chance to have it. Fresh pasta has different texture compared with dried pasta. Less elastic and softer is how I would describe it. The ragu of pheasant was flavourful but a bit on the salty side. On the whole it was a great dish.
We finished of the meal with a lovely custard tart with seared blood oranges and yogurt on the side. Nothing spectacular but just a simple dessert that does its job more than well in giving the meal a sweet aftertaste.
The roughly two hour journey through modern Italian cuisine at Zucca was time well spent this Saturday afternoon. Food was good and much like the interior, nothing flamboyant but well dressed flavours. I think you get out the most of the restaurant during day time when the sun light (whenever there is sun in London) brighten up the light colours of the dining room. Another reason to come for lunch is to explore the nearby Maltby Street Market and Spa Terminus when they are open.
For more photos from Zucca, please visit my Flickr set.
184 Bermondsey Street
London SE1 3TQ
Tel. +44 (0)20 7378 6809