Restaurants & Bars

Three Italian places in Balham, London

limster | Jan 31, 200811:45 AM

• Ciullo's
Golden clean tasting mozzarella (albeit a little chilled) on the gnocchi sorrentino. Gnocchi have a nice density, firm and yielding to the tooth, but not soft. Perhaps a certain expression of al dente, which I liked. Reasonable tomato sauce, and a leaf of basil on the top. I should try their pizza one of these days.

• Bucci
I was very pleasantly surprised by the texture of the crust. It was suitably thin, a hint of stretchy quality, nice flavour; a crust that was properly pulled and tossed. It could have been cooked a touch longer for a more desirable balance - a crisper crust against the thin softness. The sauce was ok, and the mozzarella basic, mostly chopped, rather than distributed in melted pools as I personally prefer. Could have used more olive oil on top. Nice whiff of fresh basil. Falls short of the gold standard, but better than I had expected.

• Double Espresso
The crust here is cooked a little more, not burnt but lightly scorched, but the softer layer of dough above didn't have the textural complexity of Bucci's. Sauce and cheese were fine, but a Magherita should use whole fresh basil leaves, not chopped dried ones.

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