Posted on Monday, 8th August 2011
Italian restaurant Zucca made waves when it first opened last year and no wonder. Not discounting the fact that the restaurant looks great, the prices are also staggeringly reasonable. The modern and stylish dining room is sleek and shiny, and backs onto the open plan kitchen where you can watch the chefs beavering away at their work.
The menu was neat and succinct, and sounded incredibly appetising with the touches of Italian authenticity running through it. Taglierini with peas and peashoots (£7 for a starter, £9 for a main) was cooked al dente. The peas had a nice crunchiness to them, and there was a lovely earthy freshness coming through from the peashoots. Finished with a touch of aromatic mint, the flavour of the dish was good, but it was also very rich as it had been finished with a heavy dose of butter.
A hearty portion of pappardelle with veal ragu and ricotta, with its lovely rich flavours, was well executed and decently priced at £7 (£9 for a main).
Roast cod (£14.95) was nicely cooked and moist, but the fish skin could have done with a crispier finish. It was served with cannellini beans, pancetta and cavolo nero (a dark Italian cabbage) which had a nice bite to it, but which was also a touch salty. Otherwise this was nicely constructed main.
A generously sized piece of veal chop with spinach (£14.95) was perfectly cooked, moist and very flavoursome. There was a strong taste of lemon running through both the spinach and veal, perhaps a little too much, but I was well pleased with the portion size and the quality of the veal for the price.
Breads were well made with the sourdough giving way to a good springy texture. But the foccacia was very over seasoned.
Although the pastry was a little crumbly, the combination of a gooey lemon tart served with soft poached blackberries (£4.50) was a winner. The zingy nature of the tart was well matched by the sweetness of the lovely fruit.
A huge piece of chocolate cake (£4.50) with double cream was moist and tasty. It was highly enjoyable, but it needed some acidity to cut through some of the decadent richness.
The service was polished and efficient, and in these wonderful surroundings, it was hard not to have an enjoyable experience. The prices at Zucca were fantastic and the food was resoundingly very good. Sure, there were some occasional bouts of over seasoning, etc, but at these prices who cares? Value for money wise, the food could not be beat.
Food rating: 4/5
Service rating: 3.5/5
Price range: £18 – £27 for three courses. Excludes drinks and service.