What’s the Vibe?
Fun, fun, fun! Screamed the diners at Flour & Grape pasta restaurant when we pushed open the door on a packed Friday night. Well, not really, but this kind of captures the vibe at this buzzy Bermondsey locale. We’ve heard it can be quieter mid-week, but for pasta-lovers, it’s worth the wait. The friendly and knowledgeable staff are excellent guides should you be wavering over one thing or another on the menu.
What’s the cuisine?
As the name suggests, this restaurant is all about the grape and the grain; house-made pasta and bread and wine, are the stars of the show here. Though the usual pasta suspects are present and correct (slow-cooked beef short rib ragu with pappardelle, taglierini served with preserved truffle and a cured egg yolk) there are some unique twists we’ve not seen anywhere else in the capital such as conchiglie with roasted cauliflower, tomato and parmesan. Though there’s an extensive Italian wine list, the daily changing menu handily highlights the best pairings for those who don’t know their Verdicchio from their Fiano.
What are the veggie options?
Around half of the pastas are either vegetarian or vegan. For fans of the classics, there’s a ravioli with pumpkin, ricotta, almonds, parmesan, sage butter and chilli or bucatini with tomato, olives, capers, chilli and garlic. Azzoletti served with spinach, mascarpone and nutmeg is a perfect winter warmer, and for those who ask for recommendations, they might also get the owner’s favourite – a delightfully simple plate of slow-cooked tomato and basil spaghetti.
The usual plate of salumi and beef carpaccio are beefed up (excuse the pun) with a prosciutto cotto, fontina and parmesan grilled focaccia sandwich (a posh cheese and ham toasty if you will, and you should.) Gigli–a kind of cone with a frilly edge is served with sausage, fennel and chilli, and a rich tortelloni stuffed with mouthwatering roasted pork shoulder and sage butter. There’s also spaghetti alla chitarra – a pasta from the Abruzzo region served with monkfish, tomato, garlic, chilli.
Start with a drink in the sexy downstairs bar before choosing a table at the far end of the restaurant where the banquettes are comfortable, and you get a great view of the action in the kitchen and the bustle of the restaurant.
What’s the verdict?
An excellent choice for a fun and reliably delicious Friday night dinner–if you can get a table, and at £8-£12.50 per pasta it’s no Padella in terms of cost, but it won’t break the bank either.
Words by Emilee Jane Tombs
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