‘O Ver in London Bridge launch
“’O ver?”, you might say in Italian. “Is this true?”, in English. Healthy, delicious, genuine Neapolitan street food. So goes the ethos behind new opening ‘O ver on Southwark Street, just a stone’s throw away from Borough Market and ideally located for a pre-show pizza if you’re heading to the Menier Chocolate Factory. “So what,” you might ask, “didn’t Polpo do that in 2009?” And you’d have a point.
What sets this venture apart is its key ingredient and secret weapon; brace yourself for the latest health kick you didn’t know you needed: pure sea water. That’s right, salt water extracted from “the purest areas of the Mediterranean” has apparently been scientifically proven to beat table salt at health card top trumps (whether this is an achievement or not is debatable) and boost consumption of 93 essential trace minerals. Oh, and supposedly it just makes everything taste better. It’s this last card that owner Mauro Palomba will be hoping to poach the Pizza Pilgrims set with, giving a range of traditional classics a refreshing twist by adding a drop of the ocean blue.
Does it taste any good, or will it be confined to the back of the cupboard with the goji berries and the cacao nibs? Chiodini mushrooms and smoked mozzarella lent a pleasant earthiness to our Paloma pizza, while fior di latte from Monti Lattari gave a refreshing tang to the classic Margherita, but sadly the undercooked bases were fatally lacking in bite. At a heaving launch party in mid-summer the kitchen can afford to get away with such errors, less so at an average cost of £12 per pizza. Thankfully the antipasti fared better, with an exemplary salame Finocchiona and Prosciutto di San Daniele proving the salty, melt-in-the-mouth highlights. Drinks at the launch comprised a foolproof collection of attractive aperitivo classics: the now ubiquitous aperol spritz, an agreeable dry prosecco and organic wines, because what else can you serve around Borough Market? We didn’t get to try the puddings, but a rum baba on the menu caught the eye.
London Bridge is something of a middle ground between the East End hipsters and conservative city types, and despite its street food aspirations ‘O ver leans heavily towards the latter. No exposed brickwork here, instead we have white walls as pure as the driven snow, a white Carrara marble-lined bar top, luxuriously high ceilings and omnipresent candles that would make for a peaceful chapel if it weren’t for the throngs of hungry Italians enjoying a rare summer’s evening on the pavement.
It’s smart and tasteful, and the food is perfectly decent if expensive for what it is. For all the talk, the sea water barely registers, but gimmick or no gimmick ‘O ver doesn’t quite do enough to raise the bar in an already crowded marketplace.
To book a table at ‘O Ver, 44 Southwark Street London SE1 1UN, call 07474 336 778 or visit here.