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5 January 2018

Restaurant Review: Flour & Grape, Bermondsey

Antico, the Italian restaurant at the southern end of Bermondsey Street, was a neighbourhood favourite and although I was a more frequent customer at 214, the gin bar in the basement, I was sad to hear that the restaurant had closed. But rising like a phoenix from the, er, flour, its successor Flour & Grape soon filled the carb-heavy void. With a simple menu focusing on pasta and Italian wine, as its name suggests, fans of Borough Market's Padella will find a lot to like at Flour & Grape. Better still, you can book — a particularly important feature on a cold Tuesday evening in late December.


I met a friend for an early supper at Flour & Grape the week before Christmas. Bookings are only for an hour and a half, even at dinnertime, but we had a lot to catch up on and although the restaurant was busy, it wasn't full, and the kind staff gave no indication of wanting to hurry us along. As I'm less interested in the 'grape' part of this restaurant (Flour & Juniper would be my first choice), I ordered the Bermondsey G&T (when in Bermondsey...), with my favourite Jensen's gin and Bermondsey Tonic Water (a reasonably priced £6), while my friend went for one of the other cocktails, a spritz (£6.50).


We then devoured the food menu, which consists of a variety of small plates (priced from £2 for olives to £7 for the salumi plate) and eight different pastas (£7–10). We decided we would share three starters and two pastas, and then order a third pasta if we were still hungry. Had we skipped the starters or been hungrier, we would definitely have gone for three pastas — and don't get me wrong, our plates probably would have been cleared in any case.


To start, we shared the burrata, salumi and the baby gem salad, all of which were tasty and came in generous portions. The burrata was particularly creamy and although 'baby gem salad' sounds a bit boring, this one came with a tart dressing and plenty of parmesan.



Then came the main event. We went for the bucatini cacio e pepe, which, like at Flour & Grape's competitor, was the standout dish for me. Oodles of pepper, copious cheese and perfectly al dente pasta. A close second was the rich, flavoursome beef short-rib ragu, served with pappardelle. I thought the two pastas made a perfect pair. Our third choice (or mine, at least) would have been the roasted pork shoulder tortelloni — one for next time!




We did, however, find room for a scoop of hazelnut gelato each, which we enjoyed greatly. The special gelato of the day was tiramis├╣, but I generally prefer to keep my coffee and sweet treats separate.


Although it was a busy night at Flour & Grape, the service was excellent and there was a lively atmosphere in the restaurant. The Bermondsey Street Italian is dead. Long-live the Bermondsey Street Italian!


Flour & Grape. 214 Bermondsey St, SE1 3TQ (Tube: London Bridge or Bermondsey). Website. Twitter. Instagram.

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