We’d heard great things about Capricci – an Italian restaurant on Bankside, just next to the Tate’s stunning Switch House extension – and had intended to recommend it as the perfect pitstop when visiting the new improved gallery. But having lingered over a memorably delicious dinner, we recommend instead that you make a point of visiting Capricci, and then – if you can tear yourself away – perhaps work off the indulgence by taking the stairs to the Tate’s 10th floor viewing level (open late on Fridays and Saturdays) to admire the spectacular panoramic 360-degree view.
Launched by Italian company Capricci, who specialise in super-high-end deli products and hampers in their home country, the restaurant is their first deli outside Italy, and the first to have a kitchen attached.
It’s a small space (the vibe is friendly and neighbourhood), and the focus is on authentic Italian food, prepared using traditional recipes, the freshest ingredients (a must, given the lack of storage space) and consequently a menu that changes once and often twice a day.
‘Capricci’ translates as ‘what you fancy’, and delicious treats are on offer, not just on the menu but on the deli shelves that line the walls; everything from porcini in olive oil to dried pesto powder, which is apparently perfect for adding flavour to pasta dishes, according to the General Manager. His foodie knowledge and passion is inspiring, and he’s very happy to promote the ‘Capricci’ philosophy of ‘try before you buy’ – whether it’s a teaspoon of dried pesto powder or the wine you’ve chosen to go with your meal.
Every dish we tried was outstanding, not to mention reasonably priced for this kind of quality – from the starter of Burrata with Bresaola (with grated orange, fennel shavings and raisins to add a delightful fruitiness) and the Risotto with Porcini and Salami (great consistency as well as flavour – moist but with the perfect ‘bite’) to the meltingly soft Beef tenderloin (flown in from their regular butcher in Monza, who they know personally) with rocket, parmesan flakes and a Barbaresco reduction (a classic dish, brilliantly executed). Capricci’s signature dessert was one of the best Tiramisu we’ve ever tasted. Light and not too sweet, with a hint of orange zest, this home-made treat is apparently so addictive that local residents can’t resist popping in for a take out!
So, to plagiarise an old V&A advertising slogan, Capricci is a really fantastic Italian with quite a nice gallery nearby.
Below, Capricci share a simple recipe for their delicious Beetroot and Goat’s Cheese Salad…
For more information visit capricciforlondon.co.uk.
Beetroot and Goat’s Cheese Salad
1 medium beetroot
A handful of green beans
40g hard goat’s cheese
3/4 yellow or red cherry tomatoes
The juice of half a medium lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 Peel the beetroot and cut into half inch pieces.
2 Toss together with up to three tablespoons of olive oil, then add salt and pepper to taste.
3 Spread on a baking sheet and roast at around 200 degrees C, stirring once or twice, until tender (approx. 35 minutes).
4 Bring salted water to the boil in a saucepan, and then add the green beans. Cook until tender (up to 20 or 30 minutes – test with a fork after 15 minutes).
5 Trim the rind off the goat’s cheese and cut into half inch slices. Heat olive oil very briefly in a frying pan (on a low flame), then add the goat’s goat cheese and cook on a medium heat on each side for approx. one minute.
6 Transfer the roasted beetroot and steamed beans to a serving bowl and toss together.
7 Slice the tomatoes into halves, add to the beetroot and beans, and toss together with the lemon juice and olive oil
8 Top with the goat’s cheese and serve.
By Rosalind Lowe