Bermondsey Street isn’t short of great places to fill your gut, what with the likes of Jose, Pizzaro, Casse-Croûte and Zucca, but one thing the street has certainly been missing is pizza – until now. The Gianelli family have opened an Italian restaurant (complete with pizza oven) called Ticino right opposite their wholesale bakery that they’ve owned for over thirty years.
The ground floor dining room and open kitchen was a plain and simple space which could have done with a bit of background music to liven it up. Our waiter, although terribly sweet, was terribly nervous and English certainly wasn’t his native tongue, which became a tad difficult when ordering – or even asking for some olive oil. The place seemed to lack anyone in authority, and it was really noticeable.
The menu was split across two pages; we avoided the a la carte and instead stuck to the antipasti & pizzas. To start we chose the burrata, salame and chicken ballantine (3 for £14) which were served on a wooden board along with some very good sliced bread and little deep fried potato puffs called pasta fritta, which were utterly divine; salty, chewy and seriously moreish. The whole thing could have done with some butter or olive oil though but at least the salame was of good quality, as was the ball of fresh and bouncy burrata. The chicken ballantine (basically a cold ballotine) was full of flavour but I bit into gristle on my first mouthful which wasn’t particularly pleasant.
For main, I opted for a nice and simple margherita (£7.50) which was brilliant value. The base was really thin and other than a blackened burnt bubble, the crusts were light, crisp and slightly chewy; totally delicious. There was plenty of mozzarella too; too tomatoey pizzas are a pet hate of mine.
My gentleman companion opted for the quattro stagioni (£9.50) which was prosciutto, mushrooms, salsiccia italiana and artichoke. The toppings were split into quarters and all were really tasty – especially the prosciutto; it was clear they were using top quality ingredients.
The food at Ticino was actually delicious but it was the service that let the whole thing down; it felt like none of the waiters or even the manager had ever worked in a restaurant before. I also thought the menu was too vast – they should just stick to doing great quality pizzas which is what the street really needs. Either way, there’s a lot of feet finding to do, but I’m sure once they’ve done that, Ticino will fit rather nicely into Bermondsey Street.