Bermondsey Street is a noticeably excellent spot for top-notch restaurants with an abundance of famous chefs making it an electric foodie hotspot. You have the likes of Angela Hartnett’s Cafe Murano, Jose Pizarro with not one but two places; Jose, his original tapas bar and Pizarro, his restaurant, then you have Casse-Croûte, Hakata Ramen Bar and all sorts of neighbourhood cafes and bars adding to the appeal. Baccala is an Italian restaurant specialising in seafood & wine and is relatively new, having only opened in 2020 and despite the setbacks from the year that never was, it’s proving to be an excellent addition to the already killer line-up on the street.
Named after the famous Italian salt cod dish, Baccala is the creation of four friends; sommelier Fabio de Nicola (previously of Hovarda, Oblix & Zuma Istanbul), head chef Moreno Polverini (previously at Four Seasons Hotel Group at Park Lane in London), Fabio’s designer wife Ilanit Ovadya, and Elif Taner Polverini, who is married to Moreno. It’s an intimate and charming restaurant of 30 covers, with an extra 20 in their downstairs space, counter seating at the open kitchen so you can see the chefs in action, and 14 seats outside for alfresco goals. The premise is simple, Italian seafood dishes made with love using the finest locally sourced produce.
We started things off with bread and an accompanying extra virgin olive oil menu sourced from select Italian artisan producers. The olive oil is treated like a fine wine, with each one having a unique makeup of different characteristics and flavour notes, including unexpected combinations like artichoke and banana. Next it was onto the oyster menu sourced from independent UK fisheries, served with Amalfi lemon and their excellent homemade spicy tomato pepper sauce. You can sample their full lineup with their tasting options, worth doing if you ask us.
Then we were hitting all their signature dishes; roasted octopus with colonnata lard on marinated bell peppers, olives and basil; a super fresh and light roasted aubergine salad with walnuts and Vesuvian pink tomato; the mezze maniche with mussels, courgette flower and black cuttlefish, rich in flavour and a joy to dig into; and the salted cod with sautéed escarole and yellow datterino, where the fish just flaked away into soft parcels. A mighty slab of tiramisu was a more than satisfying final dish of the night. Immense.
Fabio also expertly guided us through our wine selection making it a brilliant choice for the meal. With great service and beautiful Italian cooking, Baccala is another Bermondsey gem you can keep going back to.
Unit B3 194-204 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3TQ