An Australian Italian in London – Bernardi’s:
I’ve been to Bernardi’s before – but for an event organised by the Italian Tourist Board. That’s quite a claim to authenticity for a restaurant created by two Italian brothers from Melbourne, Gabriel and Marcello Bernardi. On the edge of Marylebone Village, one of those areas of Central London where residents want to highlight the uniqueness, I’d dare venture that Marylebone is perhaps one of the places where you can find more authentic food experiences. Fewer chains, a wealth of independent shops and, of course, some very good restaurants and bars. So good in fact, that they have an annual food festival of their own. I was invited along to try the menu at Bernardi’s which is reasonably priced without a discount but which, during the festival, has a discount too.
After an obligatory glass of prosecco, some bread and olives, we settled down to the serious matter of trying the food. The menu offers a range of dishes which would be great if you were shopping in the area and just wanted a light snack, together with classic Italian starters, pasta and mains. I was tempted by one of the Cicchetti, namely the whipped ricotta and truffle crostini.
A light creamy cheese, topped with shavings of black truffle and laced with honey and fresh thyme. What could be better?
Meanwhile, my companion was enjoying seared king scallops with cauliflower, pancetta and sea fennel – one of the starters. Perfectly cooked plump scallops with just a touch of caramelisation.
I’d intended picking a lighter option as my main course in the form of line-caught cod with saffron, pea and samphire risotto. Portion size at Bernardi’s though is generous and by the time I’d worked my way through the flaky cod and accompanying fragrant risotto I was really quite full. We’d ordered a wild rocket salad with aged balsamic and Parmesan and I can safely say I really didn’t eat more than a mouthful. Perhaps just enough to count as one of my five a day?
My companion’s roasted guinea fowl with gnocchi alla Romana, porcini, prosciutto and chicory was similarly substantial, pretty on the plate and delicious in the mouth.
We did feel both the main courses were just a little saltier than we’d have liked. That’s often the case for me though with Italian food.
For dessert, my companion ordered Marta’s almond and chocolate cake with clotted cream. Highly recommended, that’s what I’ll be having next time. Meanwhile, I opted for a classic affogato, a vanilla ice-cream with espresso coffee and a shot of Frangelico. It’s a great option if you don’t want a substantial dessert and one I always enjoy.
What I liked best about Bernardi’s was the range of options for dining. They have a Pizzette section – small pizzas with delicious sounding toppings including Italian pork sausage with fennel tops and wild garlic or King oyster mushroom with gorgonzola and aged balsamic. There are four pasta options, all of which sound delicious and can be served as small or large plates. And, they have truffled potato fritti.
For my money that makes this a great place to meet up with friends for a casual yet delicious evening of dining.
I will be back!
62 Seymour St,
London W1H 5BN
Looking for something different? We also recommend The Royal Oak in Marylebone – a stunning Gastropub with great British cuisine