Monday 10 September 2007

Cantina Vinopolis, Bank Side, near London Bridge

Neighbouring the foodie haven of Borough Market, this stylish restaurant is part of the Vinopolis wine emporium built underneath a Victorian railway viaduct, giving it an impressively-high vaulted ceiling made with thousands of bare bricks. Among the starters in the set menu (£30 for three courses), the tuna capaccio with salad has a delicious salty flavour, while the duck and foi gras terrine is rich and satisfying, if somewhat unethical. But the main courses are less appetising - the corn-fed chicken is dry and dull, while the accompanying spiced cabbage and new potatoes are also bland and a little rubbery. The lamb shank, accompanied by cherry tomatoes, pea puree and sugar snap peas arranged in a pretty pattern, is a better bet. Of the deserts, the substantial plate of cheese and biscuits stands out. Fittingly, Cantina Vinopolis has a huge wine list stretching over 30 pages, including an extensive choice of full-bodied desert wines. While the service can be sluggish and sometimes inattentive, Cantina Vinopolis still makes for a memorable meal. 7/10