Damn, La Goccia is pretty.
The site describes the Covent Garden Spot as the signature and "iconic romance" of Petersham Nurseries, but with an added Italian accent. And at first glance, the courtyard is a collection of wrought iron, terracotta pots, trailing flowers and so much green that it actually feels secluded, despite being right by one of London's most popular tourist destinations.
In fact, it's hard to spot a particularly Italian thread in the La Goccia menu. The strange plate of Arancini, a dash of Amalfi lemon or Maremma blue cheese that feels, above all else, British.
The menu changes regularly, often daily. A look at earlier versions raises a pleasantly surprising number of secondary dishes that are rarely on a menu and are often targeted at unpretentious audiences. And if any dish could turn a guts denier, then it could be our pork heart and garlic scapes, one of a firm selection of cicchetti / entrees, all of them delicate slivers of intense wealth.
However, the heroic dish among the entrees is our simple plate of beetroot and walnut salad served with Blu del Granduca chips. Unobtrusive and lovely on its own, it helps that the blue cheese comes with the sharpness that lacks the other opening files - the radishes with herb butter and zucchini arancini are alive on the plate, but mild in seasoning.
On the other side are the main courses - plaice with fennel and amalfi lemon as well as thick, low-fat pork pieces with beets and mustard - both strong, almost too strong salt spikes. But the pork, sprinkled with small, crispy pieces of fried sage, is a powerhouse. The melting fat layers on the meat are interrupted by the crunching and the woodiness of the sage leaves. Both plates are, as with the appetizers, generous; The La Goccia menu offers a very Italian amount of dinner.
It's easy to be enchanted by the location of La Goccia and be enchanted by a vine or a well-placed lantern. Prices are going to be harder to swallow: While the menu is good - at times great - and costs £ 40 for three courses, the last one is a nice, but relatively understated pair of ice / sorbet options and no white under £ 30 a bottle is one harder sale.
The starlight, the flowers and the lovingly prepared ingredients would be enough to fill the inner courtyard of La Goccia with dates nights, anniversaries, family celebrations, promotions and suggestions. The price points mean it's probably the best thing to save for those milestones.
La Goccia at Petersham Nurseries Covent Garden, 1 flower court, WC2E 9FB. The set evening menu at La Goccia is available from 17:00 to 21:00 from Mondays to Saturdays and costs £ 38 for three courses.
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