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Cantina del Ponte Mediterranean Food & Wine

Cantina del Ponte Mediterranean Food & Wine
Butlers Wharf Buildings
36c Shad Thames
London
SE1 2YE
Tel: 020 7403 5403
Fax: 020 7403 0267

I had had to drive down to London in the evening for a morning meeting the next day. I arrived to check in at the Tower Thistle at 9:30pm, and decided to re-visit the Conran restaurant immediately across the river from the hotel.

By the time I got there, I was worried that they had stopped serving – there were only two or three couples in, and the place looked fairly bare. Nevertheless, I ventured in (the Chef school in the street behind was closed. Again.)

They found me a table (!) and I checked out the menu. Being fairly late, my appetite wasn’t sparkling, but the grilled Feta with Humus and Red Pepper coulis tempted me. As did the pan-fried sirloin with Lyonnais potatoes. I selected a bottle of Salice Salentino, and started on the olive tapenade and bread roll accompanied by a glass of Peroni.

The tapenade was OK – I prefer mine with a little more acidity, but that’s just my taste. The Feta was barely warm – I had expected it to be almost sizzling. Never mind – the flavour was good and the pepper coulis very good.

The Humus was just a little lacking. All in all a good start. The wine was very much to my liking (Italian, Red, 13% - spicy) and went well with the starter, and the main course.

The steak was nicely presented, and the gravy complemented both the potatoes and the steak. I had asked for a simple tomato salad to go with the dish, and this was good – fresh tasting tomato and flavoursome rocket (and I think a couple of leaves of water cress got in there as well). A light drizzle of bright green olive oil finished it off – although I would have preferred a little more, and perhaps a dash of balsamic vinegar. It would have been a nice touch to have offered such condiments to me.

Finish off with a café correcto – an expresso with a dash of grappa. I’ve had better coffee, but the addition of the grappa had the desired effect of masking the predictable imperfection.

Although it would have been more enjoyable had I had company, and the paucity of clientelle detracted from any ambience there could have been, overall, I enjoyed the meal. £52.14 including 12.5% service charge and drinks is not outrageous for a central London eaterie of this class.

Sandro Melkuhn
4 Jan 2001

Eatanddrink Ratings

Cantina del Ponte

Total Score: 70%
Quality: Good
Service: Average
Facilities: Above Average
Ambience: Average
Value: Good

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