Posted on Friday, 21st March 2014
It’s not often that I blog about vegetarian restaurants. But the concept of Amico Bio is rather unique and seemed worthy of a visit. Not only is Amico Bio vegetarian, it is an Organic Italian vegetarian restaurant. Head Chef and owner is Pasquale Amico who trained with the likes of Gary Rhodes, Bruno Loubet and Giorgio Locatelli. Prior to Amico Bio he also owned the successful Via Condotti on Conduit Street which held a Bib Gourmand.
There are two Amico Bio outlets in London – one in Holborn and one in Barbican. There’s also a third restaurant in Naples, Italy. The menu contains a range of starters, antipastas, pastas and main courses with vegan options and gluten free pasta. Amico Bio uses ingredients from Pasquale’s family farm in Capua, Italy, and given the efforts to bring the produce over from Italy (organic no less), its surprising how reasonably priced the menu is. Amico Bio sings of heartfelt, green, healthy cooking.
We started with a lovely roulade of potato and mushrooms with aubergine caponata and roast pepper sauce (£7) which was nicely done. The mushrooms were delicious with an excellent texture and well placed alongside the potatoes. The caponata and pepper sauce worked well with the roulade.
The ‘insalata Amico Bio’ came with roasted peppers, tofu, fennel, courgettes, aubergine couscous and tomato (£9) with some crispy salad leaves serving as the base of the salad. Each individual element was pleasant and fresh, but the salad as a whole needed more texture and/or a slightly more exciting dressing as it was a little dull.
A homemade pasta with a porcini mushroom sauce (£10) came with the most gorgeous of sauces. The Italian imported mushrooms had been cooked down with a vegetable stock to produce a rich, almost creamy sauce that was wonderfully flavoursome. However the homemade pasta was a disappointment as it was overcooked and too doughy.
Braised artichokes were delicious and nicely cooked. They came with some soft red cabbage and a creamy pumpkin puree (£9.50). The combination of flavours worked well together, with the sweetness of the puree contrasting well with the savoury overtones of the artichokes.
Cauliflower and grass pea patties (£9.50) were accompanied by some green cabbage and a cannellini bean ragu. The patties were crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, and there was a good balance between the cabbage and the ragu. This dish was showed off care in its preparation but as a whole was a little bland.
To desserts, and cannoli alla Siciliana (£6) with a creamy ricotta and candied fruit filling showed off a fantastic super crunchy pastry. However we didn’t find the vegan sponge with a chocolate pop corn ice cream (£6) as enjoyable. The sponge was a little dry, and although the ice cream was nice, the use of popcorn in it was odd.
The concept of Amico Bio is to be celebrated for it lauds healthy, organic eating. As evidenced by the freshness of the flavours, much care and thought had been put into sourcing the ingredients as well as the preparation of the dishes. Amico Bio, with its friendly service and homely décor, is a great little number for vegetarians, vegans and those who enjoy vegetarian food. There is also a range of reasonably organic wines. But for hardcore meat eaters, the food at Amico Bio may come across as a little tepid.
Food rating: 3.5/5
Service rating: 3/5
Prices: £21 to £34 for three courses, excludes drinks and service.