The room: Nodding to the Barbican’s slightly retro feel, this L-shaped space greets you with a Martini bar on arrival, before the main seating area places you on splendidly comfortable leather seats. The banquettes look ideal for cosy assignations and intimate business meetings alike, but the best views of the Barbican’s lake are to be had by the windowside seats; it’s probably worth asking for these specifically when you book. On a warm summer evening, it’s an unrivalled view in central London.
The food: anyone who’s eaten at Demetre’s other restaurants will know the formula straight away: top notch European cuisine, using interesting ingredients and served with flair. Although this isn’t quite at the same level as Arbutus or Wild Honey (both of which deservedly won Michelin stars), it’s not far off. The former head chef of Arbutus, Patrick Leano, has been installed and serves up a variety of Italian dishes in Demetre’s ‘bistronomy’ style. Kick off with a cucumber bellini and a plate of delicious cured meats from antipasti to share – and why not a creamy burrata as well, with broad beans and tomatoes?
The pasta and meat courses are absolutely superb; ravioli of cime di rape with parmesan is simple and perfectly done, and sheep’s ricotta gnudi is good enough to make you think that you’ve wandered into an authentic trattoria. The pork T-bone is even better; so often a boring meat that’s prone to being overcooked, it’s done perfectly, and tastes all the better for the sommelier’s choice of a fine Montepulciano to accompany it. Sides are slightly less good; the courgette fritters are large and nowhere near as delicious as the ones available elsewhere, and the broccoli is fine but is, essentially, broccoli. If you can leave room for pudding, the Amalfi lemon tart is well worth having.
What makes it special: the view is fabulous, the atmosphere far more stylish and intimate than you’d expect from somewhere that is essentially the upmarket dining option at a cultural centre. The cocktails are stunning, and there are also a number of good-value price fixe menus that make this a nice option for a pre-theatre or concert dinner.
Would we go again? Of course – and it’ll definitely be our spot of choice whenever we’re seeing a play or other cultural activity.
|Osteria restaurant review
|Osteria, Level 2, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London , EC2Y 8DS | MAP
22 Apr 16 – 30 Jun 17, 12:00 AM – 12:00 AM
|Click here to go to the Osteria restaurant website