It’s a beautiful summer’s evening as we stroll down Bermondsey Street for our visit to Antico. The restaurants along this stretch of foodie haven buzz with the post-work crowd.
And Antico fits right in here. Looking around this busy restaurant it’s an appealing mix of friends catching up and family get-togethers, all with a relaxed, informal vibe, which makes this place feel like a local neighbourhood favourite.
Antico is a wonderful antidote to the mediocre Italian restaurant. Not that you’d expect anything less from this part of London. The menu, straightforward and confident, is set out on one piece of paper, including wine and cocktails. But just don’t forget to look over your shoulder for the specials board.
Delicious, nutty olives and focaccia keep us ticking over as we mull over our options. An almost holiday feel kicks in when presented with a refreshing Aperol spritz, jewel coloured in a huge bowl-like glass, which has got to be the perfect start to dinner on a warm evening.
The halibut fritte are soft and meaty with a delicate fresh chilli that gives them just a little edge with the garlic and caper aioli. A simple beetroot and gorgonzola salad is done well, with the right balance of ingredients.
The venison, pancetta and redcurrant ragu fazzoletti, from the specials board, is rich and meaty, without being gamey; the redcurrant and pancetta offering a delicious undertone of sharpness and sweet. For a bit of flair, the dish is accompanied by a heady ramazotti and prosecco shot which gives the whole meal an extra kick.
More fool me for not realising how big a fan I was of monkfish until trying their risotto with tomato, garlic and chilli – you won’t often win any prizes for picking risotto, but I had no regrets with this deliciously creamy and well seasoned dish.
We were encouraged to try out their newest dessert, Campari gellato, served in mini Martini glasses. A light and delicate dish, with a satisfying bite from the Campari, this is probably the kind of dessert needed after quite a rich menu.
Restaurants like Antico are wonderfully satisfying. Tasty, well thought-out food in comfortable surroundings with a friendly and agreeable atmosphere. The kind of place you wish every neighbourhood had. Those Bermondsey residents really are lucky.
Every Wednesday they offer live music downstairs in the bar, which although not on the night I visited, if it’s delivered with the affability of this restaurant and the success of the food, has got to be worth a visit.
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