Florentine is an all-day dining restaurant and bar, located in the South Bank area (specifically, across the road from Lambeth North tube station). Part of the new Park Plaza hotel, Florentine is available for non-hotel guests also, for brunch, lunch and dinner. The restaurant promises to serve a range of international dishes, from small plates to larger sharing dishes with unique offerings including an Ostrich Egg which can feed up to six people and freshly-made flat breads baked in the feature bread oven.
One pleasant Tuesday evening, we at Vada headed into Florentine. We found the bar area modern using dark colours offset by metallic features and a bold use of blue. The menu offers a range of craft beers, and bubbles from Italy (Prosecco), France (Champagne) and the British Isles (English Sparkling Wine). We chose to start with cocktail aperitifs before dinner, which were a Margarita (£8.75) made with with Ocho tequila – as Tuesday is tequila night, and a Bramble (£8.5). Both classics were well mixed and at an attractive price point (for London). The bar also has a live music programme, although nothing on the night we attended, and has DJ sessions on weekend evenings.
Whilst the bar is most certainly international, and on the trendy side of trendy-pretentious scale, we found the dinner menu heavily Italian focussed. As the chef, and many of the staff are Italian this is no surprise, and hopefully a hint at authentic dishes being available. To start, we chose the Smoked Burrata (£8) with heritage tomatoes and basil, and the Buffalo ricotta ravioli (£8) in a black truffle sauce. The former tentatively tough on the outside, nonetheless creamy and smooth once cut into. The ravioli dish was exceptionally yellow, and diners looking for low-fat look away, but we enjoyed this simple dish paired with complex, earthy notes of truffle shavings.
For main course, we chose fish in the form of Grilled yellow fin tuna steak (£17) served with green beans and a red chimichurri sauce, which was ordered with a side of chips (£4). We also took the Grilled wild Sea Bass (£18) served with spinach, roasted vine tomatoes and Amalfi lemon, with a side of sweet potato (£4). The generous portion of tuna steak was cooked exactly how we’d asked (medium – so just a touch of pink in the middle). The Sea Bass dish was presented in the same way as we would eat at home, therefore didn’t excite albeit a pleasant dish of flaky, moist fish, and note the use of Amalfi (Italian) lemon.
Florentine also offers a range of flat breads with various toppings, in essence the restaurant’s take on a pizza (again Italian) with a very thin base. Prices start from £7 with quirky flavour combinations such as spinach, goat’s cheese and tahini. Although we didn’t try these this time round, we can imagine these being particularly popular, and rather good value.
The dessert menu consisted entirely of Italian-inspired choices, with ice creams, tiramisu, Pannacotta, cheesecake, Venetian doughnuts, as well as an Italian cheese selection. We chose the Tiramisu (£5) and the Vanilla Pannacotta with raspberries (£5). Both were devoured very quickly, so clearly no lack of moreishness (albeit our lack of the English language).
Overall we found Florentine’s dinner menu simple, with Italian influences throughout. Whilst some of the plates were underwhelming in presentation, the price point (particularly that of the pizza ‘flatbreads’ and cocktails) offers great value for Londoners.
Florentine is located at 6 Hercules Road, London, SE1 7DU.
To book and for more information, visit florentinerestaurant.co.uk.