Bermondsey's best restaurants know that there is more to a restaurant than its food.
Zucca, an Italian restaurant, has superb-value food served by staff who actually care about diners having a good experience.
The decor is plain brick, timbers and tiles; seating is mostly on stools, with barrels to stand glasses on; and there’s a no-bookings, doors-wide-open attitude, albeit while being firmly planted in trendified Bermondsey.
This, his TV appearances and books have cemented his position as the most prominent Spanish chef in Britain, but what stands out here is his expert attention to sourcing and getting the basics right, ahead of culinary adventurism.
Kitty Travers’ tiny ice cream van is an unassuming vehicle for a range of unusual ices, with flavours that defy all conventions.
Think we've missed a great restaurant in Bermondsey? A couple of pumpkins on the open kitchen counter reference the restaurant’s name and provide a touch of warmth to Zucca’s super-sleek interior.
Gentle refurbishment has seen hard surfaces softened and, with light streaming in through the floor-to-ceiling windows, the room has a sophisticated Sydney vibe.
Eat at the bar and you’ll look awkwardly conspicuous to the roomful of people behind; it’s best to book a table in advance.
It’s all set up so nicely for a steak joint, in theory.
There’s the Tanner Street location, with its bovine connotations, while the ‘olde London’ Southwark atmosphere seems just right for meats grilled on an ancient-looking parrilla grill.
Yet Constancia’s bland exterior, wedged beneath a modern residential block, accurately set the tone for the evening.