What: Part of the D&D London restaurant group this traditional Italian trattoria offers the freshest pasta in London and a front row seat to Tower Bridge.
Where? 36c Shad Thames, London Bridge, SE1 2YE www.cantinadelponte.co.uk
On the menu: The new Prosecco and Pasta Bottomless Brunch is a relaxed and informal menu which features a selection of small starters and pasta dishes prepared at the restaurant’s front of house pasta counter. Dishes include bruschetta alla cantina; altamura bruschetta, tomato, rocket and parmesan, and tagliolini al ragu di calamari e gamberi; tagliolini with squid and prawns ragout, and smoked swordfish with rocket, tomato and fennel.
First Impressions: It’s a dreary day during our visit to Cantina del Ponte so any hopes of sitting on the riverside terrace are dashed but inside the staff are welcoming and there is an easy-going, smart-casual vibe. Pasta is being freshly made by the entrance in an array of colours and styles that fills me with confidence about what we are about to eat.
The Look: Glass floor to ceiling walls allow for easy viewing of the river and, if located in the right parts of the restaurant, Tower Bridge. A large painted mural takes up the back wall which depicts a street food market selling traditional Italian foods like cheese and salami on one side and a kitchen preparing the food on the other.
What We Ate: The Uova alla Fiorentina is the only typical brunch item on the menu comprising of poached egg with spinach and mornay sauce. The braised beef ravioli with butter and rosemary, and ricotta and smoked burrata ravioli in tomato sauce are both exceptionally fresh as one would expect, the burrata oozes temptingly out of the bright red pasta. The mains are limited to four options but as the saying goes, it’s quality not quantity; Merluzzo al burro e salvia con lenticchie or cod with butter and sage, and Castelluccio lentils soaked in a beef broth is the winner.
For dessert, a large Sicilian cannolo hits the spot filled with a not overly sweet ricotta cream, candied orange, chocolate pieces and pistachio, while you can’t go wrong with tiramisu.
What We Drank: Unlimited prosecco is generously filled up anytime it starts to dip in the glass but if for some reason it isn’t your tipple you can also try their drinks menu with cocktails like Campari e Prosecco which is Campari bitter, elderflower cordial, lemon juice, prosecco and lemon.
Go With: Cantina del Ponte is an ideal date spot, especially at night when the sights will be lit up but during brunch this is a great spot to meet friends.
Final Word: You can’t get fresher than watching your food being prepared right in front of you. Combine the visual theatre of seeing this into the flavours which are simple yet effective and you’re on to a winner.