A New Bistro in My ‘Hood – Marco’s New York Italian:
Now that I’ve moved South of the River, some of London’s up-and-coming areas are within walking distance. Bankside – the bit of land between Borough and London Bridge is a 30-minute walk for me though the weather last week was far too cold and wet for that! You COULD be in the backstreets of New York round Bankside and Marco’s New York Italian, despite being part of the Mercure Hotel, has its own warehouse style entrance
Inside, it’s all swanky leather in primaries, black and white. There are a lot of black and white photos of Marco too…
We were particularly taken by the large throne-like chair in the main hotel lobby, complete with a photo of Marco sitting in it!
It’s a smart place without being overly formal. And, although the restaurant was very quiet, it felt comfortable and friendly, perhaps because of the helpful staff.
Olives with nuggets of parmesan, Italian flatbreads and breadsticks were beautifully presented and made a good start to the meal, along with a glass each of Prosecco.
We found it quite hard to choose so started by sharing a couple of seafood dishes. Jumbo prawns were served grilled in the shell with a tasty citrusy garlic butter, rosemary and coriander dressing.
Lovely and succulent, we both really enjoyed these – a dish that was really quite special despite being very, very simple.
Calamari friti with spring onion and chilli were beautifully presented and nicely cooked with a light crunchy batter and just a touch of spring onion and chilli. I’d have liked a little more chilli but I did enjoy the tender calamari. I do have a taste for spicy food.
I was trying my best to eat a healthy meal, so opted for the yellowfin tuna cooked Sicilian style with lemon, black olives, spinach, capers and fresh coriander. Once again, beautifully cooked, the tuna steak was chunky, pink in the middle and served with a piquant accompaniment that seemed to include a little grapefruit too, it really brought back the taste of Sicily to me. I’m not sure the grapefruit or spinach were particularly Sicilian, but they both tasted very good and added to the dish as a whole.
Meanwhile, my dining companion, on the pretext of it being extremely cold outside, had opted for the Cannelloni al Forno.
It looked delicious and she was impressed that there was plenty of filling. It WAS a substantial portion – and I suspect she was grateful that she’d swapped the portion of garlic ciabatta which is meant to accompany the dish. Instead, she enjoyed an extra salad in addition to her New York style iceberg lettuce wedge with blue cheese dressing.
We were both extremely full by this stage. But, in the interest of research, a dessert needed to tried! Chocolate brownie with ice-cream was surprisingly light, yet rich with dark chocolate.
We enjoyed a glass of prosecco to start the meal and then for me a glass of Gavi Enrico Serafino, which was an excellent match for the tuna. My companion picked the light Pinot Noir del Veneto – a great lunchtime red.
Pricing at Marco’s New York Italian is really keen. It’s possible to dine from the a la carte from a selection of mains ranging in price from just under £10 for a pasta or pizza dish through to just under £30 for a fillet steak. And portion sizes are almost American! There is a whole range of specials and an impressive children’s menu with build your own pizzas and burgers at £7.50 for three courses. Service was good too. Obviously, it wasn’t busy when we visited, on a Monday lunchtime, so I hope the same high standards can be maintained when the place has a few more customers.
Marco’s New York Italian
17 Lavington St,
London SE1 0NZ