I have to admit it did not have the WOW factor of The Ledbury or The Square or even Chez Bruce, but it was a very pleasant way to spend a Sunday lunch time. The set Sunday lunch at £25 a head is not particularly adventurous, but what they do, they do well. My Whitebait starter had maybe a bit too much batter for some tastes, but was fresh, tasty and not in the least bit greasy. The potted pork rillette was a bit ordinary but fine for a set lunch. The mains were well received. The mash served with my well cooked haddock was particularly good.
The Bitter chocolate pudding matched with PX sherry was a triumph (I should have photographed the empty plates!)
All in all, it was a perfectly pleasant way to spend a Sunday lunch time.
They were also pushing an excellent BYOB deal (no corkage fee on a Sunday evening), something that I do hope more and more fine dining restaurants take up, see Guardian article covering this trend.
It’s not as good a deal as the one advertized by the Kitchen W8 (free corkage on a Sunday evening), but for a Saturday night a £10 corkage fee is not too bad. Especially in a restaurant with such a great reputation for food.
It is almost a year now since my last visit, shortly after the Restaurant opened, and to say Zucca has been successful in that intervening period would be something of an understatement. It’s had rave reviews, is buzzing most nights and is firmly recognised as a “Foodies” destination restaurant.
The highlights for me had to be the pasta dishes. The beautiful fennel and lemon flavoured tagliatelle was so refreshing and the veal and parmesan ravioli was delicious – why did I just order a starter size portion! The pasta was just in a different class from the very ordinary and much more expensive pasta dish I had at Apsleys. The Brunet and Speck (goats cheese wrapped in ham) was also very good.
The only downside to bringing your own wine without knowing the menu in advance, is that you are a bit restricted in your food choices. We avoided the more interesting fish dishes which would not have worked with the Amerone and ordered the slow cooked pork in milk and the veal chop instead. One thing that had not changed since my last visit was the limited selection of side orders. My veal chop, lovely though it was, would have really suited me better if accompanied by some potatoes rather that the spinach I barely touched.
We finished with the cheese course and a very nice piece of light and moist orange cake.
The service is not particularly polished. The staff were all very pleasant, but not quite attentive enough to comfortably handle the two hour turn around on the table. That and our waitress must have missed watching Michel Roux’s Service 😉 pouring as she did a full measure of wine, rather that just enough to check that the wine was OK, something that is especially important in BYOB situations.
Zucca is not perfect, but they certainly know how to cook.
After dinner we headed down to Most Cafe bar under Tower bridge, it was busy and getting served at the overcrowded bar looked impossible (why do under staffed bars insist on doing cocktails?), so instead we made our way to the more laid back Draft House Pub. Instant friendly service and a free table. It has a good reputation for its food as well, so definitely worth a return visit to try that, see Cheese and Biscuits review for details.