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Southern Italian Sunshine at Il Sud:
Il Sud is the latest addition to the thriving Fitzrovia restaurant scene. It’s the baby of two friends, Luca who runs the front of house and chef Vittorio. Having worked together in a number of London restaurants they decided to create a place that features the food from their home region of southern Italy using authentic recipes and showcasing the best in seasonal ingredients; seafood from Apulia, cheeses from Naples, and Bottarga from Sardinia. The restaurant has a simple but stylish look with chestnut and cream walls and wooden tables and was doing good business on the weekday evening I visited for my review despite only just having opened. The menu has the classic Italian construction of starters, pasta and risotto, mains and sides and it made good reading whilst sipping on a light appley glass of Prosecco Serre Valdobbiadene and nibbling crisp Sardinian flatbread and light fluffy focaccia sprinkled with a peppery Sicilian olive oil. First up was a perky trio of iridescent seared scallops, perfectly cooked and full of flavour offset by the subtle earthiness of a pea sauce and pepper velouté and topped with deep fried red onion.
From the starters menu pan-fried octopus served with spicy tomato sauce, black olives, capers and toasted bread was something of a rustic revelation. In most dishes of octopus that I have eaten recently the cephalopod’s tentacles have been seared but these were soft and tender creating a rich and satisfying plate. I couldn’t stop myself from mopping up with the piquant sauce with the sodden bread…We moved on to the apricot and melon notes of a delicious bottle of Vermentino di Sardegna IS Argiolas, 2017 – it had a well-balanced acidity and powerful and was a great match with our pasta dishes. Talking of which, London has gained some serious pasta restaurants in the last few years such as Padella and Lina so how would Il Sud shape up? Paccheri, wonderfully eggy and al dente pasta tubes from Campania, came with seared tuna, sweet cherry tomatoes and pistachios – deeply satisfying!
21 Berners Street
+44 (0)20 7323 9123.
Will Il Sud make our top London restaurants list for 2019? You’ll just have to wait and see – in the meantime do check out last year’s Top London Restaurant list