We had grand plans this summer to get out and eat more of London, we even had some reservations in the diary. Unfortunately, the summer got away with us and with opening ceremonies, athletics and more to keep us entertained and hoards of guests from lands afar to entertain we didn’t quite keep to all of those reservations.
That was all but one. We did make it to Zucca out in Bermondsey, South East, London. A colleague of mine lives around there and had mentioned that Zucca was very good. Having taken his recommendation and waltzed down Maltby Street before I knew I had it on good authority.
We had a table reserved for 8:30 and lucky we did as the restaurant was just about full when we arrived. We were seated before too long in the crisp and modern dining room. Ever the nosey one I took the seat looking at the chefs who cook overlooking the restaurant.
The menu is quite short with a selection of seasonal Italian dishes. If you wanted you really could go the whole Italian hog with little plates and bread to start with, a pasta course, main and dessert. We didn’t quite do that, although were tempted! Instead we opted for two entrees to share, the beautifully fresh sea bass carpaccio with chilli oil, oh so simple, oh so delicious on a hot day and the zucca fritti which were little sticks of pumpkin fried in a very, very light batter with the odd chilli on the plate too. Both entrees were delicious and set the tone for the fresh and delicious mains to come.
I kept on the fish route for my main ordering the swordfish and panzanella salad, which was simply divine, the swordfish was simply char-grilled but the accompanying salad just wreaked of summer with sumptuously ripe tomatoes the acid set off by the salt, garlic and basil – I couldn’t get enough! The boy had melt in your mouth tender pork belly on a bed of peppers and canellini beans again a perfect summer dish.
The dishes had been perfectly portioned to allow space for dessert (I would say you could probably squeeze the pasta in too but I have been known to have eyes bigger than my belly) so we ordered a perfectly wobbly, creamy panna cotta and the pistachio and raspberry tart, which reminded me of a bakewell tart with delicious vanilla ice cream to accompany – i had to prize spoonfuls off the boy who also had a scoop of ‘the best’ salted caramel ice cream he’s had!
We polished off dinner with a couple of amarettos and were surprised when we received the bill to see we had spent £100 on the nose. We’d had drinks with every course and several courses of delicious food in the surroundings of a ‘proper’ restaurant so we felt it was really good value (we are obviously becoming accustomed to London prices; our poor savings weep some more!) I would highly recommend Zucca as a great meal out in London. If you’re looking for food that does the talking without too much fuss then you can’t go wrong here.
As always there was a queue, but it wasn’t too long before we sat down and were able to start ordering. My old mate Kate “I know I don’t look like a curry girl but I do love them” and I couldn’t resist the pakora and each ordered the lamb thali from the short and sweet menu with a range of Pakistani ‘street food’ dishes.
All the dishes were delicious, the daal was unusually tasty, we both pointed that out, and the pakora hit the spot.
We both washed it down with the new drink that’s popped up recently Ossie’s Fresh Ginger, very refreshing, almost medicinal – in a good way!
The bill was £22.75 all up, you can byo for £2 corkage. Very reasonable and most delicious on a rainy evening. Add it to the list.Elephant Cafe Across the passage way from Mama Lan in Granville arcade/Brixton village Off Atlantic road
Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside, oh I do like to be beside the sea….! London’s Thames is tidal but it’s not exactly the seaside. With the first of the ‘summer’ bank holidays upon us we decided we ought to try and get to the sea. An hours trip on the train from London Bridge (for £10!) and we were in Brighton. Perfect, except in typical English style it was freezing!
Brighton is a quintessential English Seaside town, such a contrast from the beaches I’d become so accustomed too in New Zealand. There is a promenade, a funfair on the pier, fish and chips, penny slot machines, stones! Interestingly, I noticed that there is also a lot of fresh fish, I was quite taken by the stalls with smoked kippers, cockles, roll mops and the like, for some reason I’d never noticed these growing up. I’ve had to add them to the memory bank for a warmer day though as the mission for this trip was a stroll and fish and chips!
We had read that the Undercliff Walk was beautiful so we carried on walking east, past the pier, past the Ferris wheel and mini railway out to the multiplex weird toy town Brighton Marina – I somehow don’t think that’s what the Victorians had in mind for the area. Upon arriving at the Asda carpark we took a wrong turn and headed further into the Marina village, it turns out that despite the metal fences around the back of the Asda this is in fact the start of the walk – Rory told me, upon closer inspection, that the ‘fence’ was actually just to catch falling rocks from the towering cliff above, so don’t be put off!
From this point you can’t get lost, just follow the white chalky road, eventually you leave the marina behind and then have nothing but white cliffs, rocky beach and maybe a wooly mammoth ahead of you for miles.
The stroll is a lovely way to blow the cobwebs away. It goes for about 5km’s with the option to duck out earlier up to the old town of Rottingdean or stop for a cup of tea at the tea shop with rather delicious looking cakes and mugs of tea and soup. We turned back at the Tyscombe Tye stairs, apparently if you go up the stairs you can walk back along the cliff, we decided to stick to the shelter of the cliff and walked back into Brighton in pursuit of fish and chips!
There were a number of options for fish and chips (and no doubt we missed the best!) but we were pretty happy with our choice, just to the west of the pier on the beachfront the sign caught our eye – line caught cod and hand-cut chips. I’ve read about the over fishing problems so I realise that cod should probably be avoided but being line-caught has to be better than trawled fish, right? We were so cold and hungry we went for it anyway. Two orders of fish and chips, a pot of mushy peas and two sachets of Heinz tomato ketchup. Boy did they hit the spot! The fish was nice and crunchy on the outside but oh so flakey in the middle and the chips weren’t soggy with some nice crispy ones. There’s not really much to say about fish and chips other than you won’t really go wrong if you stumble into Seasiders.
All in all our little trip to Brighton made for a lovely day. Walking along the cliffs was beautiful and I can only imagine will get nicer as the weather warms up. The ice cream man looked a bit cold and lonely so why not go and cheer him up.Seasiders 245 Kings Road Arches, Brighton Beach P.S. it’s a bit further down the road from Brighton but thanks to Facebook fan Susan Kelly-Lord for recommending Fish & Chip Restaurant, The Esplanade, Brighton Road, Worthing. Going to have to give this a try when we have some wheels!