Bernardi’s (owned by the Bernardi brothers) is on Seymour Place which has fast become a foodie hotspot with the likes of Donostia, Lurra and The Lockhart just seconds away. It’s a big restaurant and although the interior is quite simple, it has a relaxing vibe to it. An open kitchen, where the particularly good house focaccia is made, adds a livelier element.
We started with some pizzettas; gorgonzola and prosciutto (£8) and confit leek, Taleggio and celery (£7). The latter might sound a little odd but it was inspired – the celery made for a refreshing element to it all.
Pumpkin and gorgonzola arancini (£4.50) had that molten, stringy, cheesy thing going on when you cut into them, which made them totally divine. Charred squid (£8.50) came with a sweet tomato sauce so full of garlic I could have easily been mistaken for Buffy the Vampire Slayer – proper lovely stuff.
Market fish crudo (£16.50), that’s Scottish salmon, Yellowfin tuna and sea bass, made for a light and refreshing change to the richness of everything else. It was a total stunner too. Tarragon gnocchi (£9) were tossed in a rabbit ragu which was a real cockle warmer. The gnocchi had a crisp edge to one side ensuring they weren’t soggy balls of stodge.
Slow cooked pork collar (£18.50) went surprisingly well with clams – they both seemed to bring out the best in each other. The pork was insanely good, soft and tender with masses of porky flavour. If it’s on, this is a must order.
For dessert, Gianduja mousse, bitter chocolate and vanilla ice cream (£8) was a bit thick and heavy for me. The coffee semifreddo (£6.50) was far lighter with a real whallop of coffee which is just what I needed.
I really enjoyed my lunch at Bernardi’s – it had all the trappings of a great neighbourhood restaurant yet one you wouldn’t be disappointed if you’d travelled for. Super friendly service topped it off; it was the type that makes you feel at home from the minute you step through the door. Looks like Seymour Place has got another cracker.
We dined as guests of the restaurant.