I have great respect for Italy’s gastronomic culture. Their regional cuisine genuinely drive great fascination and the greatest of chefs still worship their mothers. It’s familiar, familial, and full of heart. Something you definitely share with people to have good conversations about.
When A suggested we catch up for brunch at Berardi’s in Marylebone, I was quite curious. Italian food isn’t something I’d pick particularly for that time of day, but I’ve heard nice things. Admittedly, mostly about aesthetics and their ‘grammable plates, but I was keen to try the food.
First to arrive, the grilled squid with garlic, peperonata and chick peas. Lightly spiced and simply prepped, this dish was well-balanced yet hearty. I liked how soft the squid was.
The cacio e pepe arancini was a contrast of textures, with its crisped coating and soft filling. The flavour was bold and the size was perfect. So far, so good.
I wasn’t too fussed about the pizzettas at first, but when you put wild mushroom and Taleggio together it just makes sense. The cheese, strong on its own, married so well with the soft, earthy shrooms.
I couldn’t pass on the burratina, and Bernardi’s version did not disappoint. I definitely enjoyed spreading it on the chicory and fig garnish. The pesto and balsamic glaze was quite tight, bringing a nice sharpness to the cheese. But it’s the creamy, smooth, milky flavour of the cheese that shone on the plate.
We also tried the beef carpaccio. Bernardi’s serve theirs slightly thicker than usual, and definitely a bit more cooked than usual. But it was very tasty indeed, the depth of aged meat seeping through the palate for a nice warm welcome. The ricotta and olive tapenade was quite an interesting choice of garnish, but it worked quite pleasantly.
Next up was the maltagliati with white veal ragu and rosemary. This, my friends, is one to order when you go to Bernardi’s. The sauce was fantastic – rich in flavour yet light as the taste of veal sets on the palate.
The casarecce was cooked with the classic combination of Cornish crab, samphire and chilli. This was quite a favourite, and quite rightly so. Crisp sage leaves add an earthy freshness to the thick, al dente pasta. Heavenly.
And then there was gnocchi.
Holy shoot, that gnocchi.
I’m not usually keen on gnocchi as it’s usually too heavy for my liking. But this was soft, fluffy, pillowy, and light. The sauce, seeped with Gorgonzola and pumpkin, was so divine, you need all the carbs you can think of to want to mop it. Add some crisped pancetta and seeds on top, this was definitely the star of the day for me.
Dessert 1 was an apple strudel of some sort. Light pastry encasing warmed apples with cinnamon and sultanas, plus a nice marsala cream on the side. Decent enough and very appealing for this type of weather.
The rosemary focaccia treacle tart with fig ice cream was something I wouldn’t normally order myself, but it turned out to be the better dessert. It was well balanced. The treacle tart wasn’t too sweet and the ice cream was well made. Definitely get this.
Verdict for Bernardi’s
Nobody said you can’t have Italian classics for brunch. In this day and age where people tend to oversell more than they undersell, Bernardi’s comes with a quiet statement on a plate. And it’s piping hot with a whole lot of deliciousness. I thoroughly enjoyed all the pasta dishes and the antipasti and small plates for the table were rather good, too.
I’m not one for Italian cuisine when going out, but this is a place I’d definitely come back to again.
62 Seymour St, Marylebone, London W1H
Ave spend pp: £40 per person