As a loyal customer of Zucca on Bermondsey Street I was very sad to discover it will close its doors for good in just under one month, on Wednesday 23rd December 2015.
Zucca has been my favourite London restaurant since I first ate there nearly six years ago.
The food – from the sumptuous bread, to the eponymous Zucca Fritti (deep fried pumpkin), to the exemplary pasta or Zucca’s signature veal chop – is simple, elegant and brilliant.
Zucca has always been about top-quality produce cooked in an unfussy way. It’s never aimed to produce show-stopping displays of extravagant cooking or elaborate presentation, and it’s all the better for that.
But in truth, wine is probably the main reason I fell in love with Zucca. Owner Sam Harris explained why in this story on Decanter.com from 2012: “I spent so many years going to restaurants and seeing wines I’d love to have but couldn’t afford … My theory is, as long as they’re selling well, I can afford slimmer mark-ups.”
For £40-odd you can buy a brilliant bottle of Barbera d’Alba at Zucca – a special bottle of wine at any price. An unpretentious approach to wine at unpretentious prices. How many London restaurants can honestly say they operate in a similar way? (If you know of one I’d love to hear about it).
As I journalist/PR I have never exactly been rolling in cash but I always felt £60 or so per head spent on a good evening at Zucca was a real bargain.
I liked it so much I wrote a gushing 10/10 review under a pseudonym on the London Eating website a couple of years ago.
Aside from the food and wine, some of Zucca’s superb staff have been working there since day one: the sign of an extremely well-run business.
Joss Fowler summed it up very well on his blog: “The food is of impeccable quality: simple ingredients of the highest calibre, assembled without fuss or trickery. The service is an example of what it should be: you don’t notice it happening … You can drink well off the list at any budget.”
And one final thought from Sam Harris, who said Zucca was the restaurant ‘I’d want to go to myself, with tasty food, a small, manageable menu, and good wines at good prices.’
Sounds great, doesn’t it? And it still is – until 23rd December. So get there if you can. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Sam Harris has something exciting planned for a new London location …