Cantina del Ponte and its new La Dolce Vita menu
Cantina del Ponte is an Italian restaurant in the shadow of London Bridge, in one of the Butlers Wharf glamorous buildings, a stone’s throw from London City Hall. The restaurant has just announced its special La Dolce Vita menu, for groups and family celebrations of ten or more.
The restaurant boasts some incredible views over the Thames, London Bridge and the City. This perfect scenario, framed by a glowing sunshine light and some authentic Italian food encapsulates that wow factor we all expect in order to impress family and friends.
This special menu, named after Federico Fellini’s film La Dolce Vita, aims to recreate with style the informal and convivial atmosphere of Italian Sunday’s lunches.
This three course menu with tea and coffee and half a bottle of wine is an imaginary North to South trip across Italy. Starters show some good traditional northern dishes like beef Carpaccio or Borlotti beans soup, while mains and desserts sum up the whole peninsula.
I tasted the borlotti beans soup over thin flat bread called carta musical (literally music sheet) and after, I enjoyed tortelloni with ricotta, spinach seasoned with butter and sage sauce. This traditional dish from the Centre of Italy was really tasty with a twist. The filling was creamy as usual, but it also had an unexpected yet delicious smoky kick, probably due to another famous Italian cheese called scamorza affumicata. The sage sauce was warm and in the right quantity.
Penne with tuna and tomato sauce was another dish on offer as a main. I really liked it because it reminded me of my summer holidays near Salerno. However, I was quite surprised finding it in the celebratory menu, as it is something you would eat at home on a normal weekday. To conclude, as homage to Milan, there was a chicken breast in breadcrumbs. It was crispy and really tasty, but unfortunately it wasn’t warm enough.
The desserts selection from the Dolce Vita menu has some really nice peaks, such as a perfectly balanced tiramisu and a light and fragrant yoghurt cake.
As for the wines there were two Sicilian options: a white Catarratto 2011, from producer Arpeggio and a 2010 red from the same producer called Nerello Mascalese. The Catarratto, with its light tangerine notes accompanied the whole meal perfectly.
Cantina del Ponte opened in 1982 as part of Sir Terence Conran Restaurants’ empire, that set up 4 different restaurants around Butlers Wharf: The Blue Print café, Le Pont de la Tour, La Cantina del Ponte and the Butlers Wharf Chophouse. It can sit around 110 people inside and 80 outside for al fresco dining. Since 2006 the restaurant is part of D&D London group; a new company formed following the buyout of Conran Restaurants by Des Gunawardena, David Loewi and their management team.
La dolce vita menu costs £35 per person, with half a bottle of wine and coffee included. The service was warm and friendly.
For more information or to make a reservation at Cantina del Ponte, 36C Shad Thames, London SE1 2YE, call 020 7403 5403.