Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Restaurant review: CANTINA DEL PONTE (South Bank)

Situated by the riverside are a range of restaurants, which entice traveling commuters in with their fragrant smells and sought-after location. I try to avoid falling into the trap of dining at a place just because it happens to be in the right place at the right time when I'm hungry, but one day last Summer, I gave in. Such were the options available, I thought Cantina del Ponte looked like the best best of the restaurants on offer, and thus, gave it my custom.

As photographed above, I had the burrata e pomodorini pachino for starter. Pairing it with a few tomatoes was inspired; it barely costs the restaurant anything to do so, but instantly makes it look as if more effort has gone into the meal, as well as provides something 'crunchier' to contrast the softness of the burrata with.

Fo £8.50, I sadly found this a little overpriced, particularly compared to the heavenly burrata from Franco Manca (which to this day, remains unparalleled as the best burrata I've had), but it still tasted yummy, and paired nicely with a cold beer.

For the main, I had branzino alla crudaiola. The seabass had been seasoned very well and the green beans had been coated in oil, so they actually looked very appetising. There was a quantum of potatoes, but as the photo indicates, not nearly enough, especially as the dish cost north of £20. Overall, the dish was tasty and nutritious, but I only identified about £3 worth of ingredients on the plate, and was thus left feeling short-changed.

Thus, Cantina del Ponte was as I'd expected: an elegant, well-located restaurant that didn't feel the need to try too hard because of its envied location, and as such, it didn't. The menu sported all the usual eats of Italian and Mediterranean restaurants, but going by the two items I ordered, the chefs didn't exactly exert themselves to try and sprinkle something special into said recipes.

If you want some inspired Italian dining for your money, my recommendation would be Trullo, where the cooks definitely thought outside the box, and created some mouth-watering dishes for their troubles.

You get a nice view if you eat in Cantina del Ponte, but, take my advice: go just a few yards further down, where there's a Pret. You'll be far better nourished for £10, and the view is exactly the same.

Grade: C-


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