Food Review: Flour and Grape
Flour & Grape arriving in Bermondsey sounds like good news for pasta lovers.
Suspiciously good, almost: a new pasta restaurant-meets-wine-bar, serving up home-rolled pappardelle, hand-crimped gigli, a long list of Italian wine by the surprisingly affordable carafe... and it's somewhere you can actually make reservations, just a stone's throw from Borough and the merciless queues of Padella.
Upstairs there's a restaurant, downstairs there's a wine bar. And the pasta kitchen, along one side of the restaurant, has a big window onto the street, where you can work up an enormous appetite watching them crimping the campanelle.
Photos of silky pappardelle studded with ragu start cropping up on our social media feeds, then dominating them.
The only possible snag we come across is the 1.5 hour reservation slots on offer. It feels counter-Italian to order pasta with one eye on the clock. But having scoped out the basement wine bar — shadowy, inviting and gently busy — the idea of transferring downstairs with our drinks if we overrun the 90 minutes starts to sound more of a bonus than a hardship.
As it turns out, that massively overestimates our ability to make pasta this good a lingering experience. From the short, surefootedly beautiful menu we share pappardelle with beef shin ragu, and gigli with pork and fennel.
Pasta should feel like the food world's simplest comfort and biggest indulgence at the same time. Flour & Grape are doing that in spades: the gigli — little curled bells — are all glossiness and bite, the fennel brightening the intensity of the meat. And the beef shin pappardelle's a classic they don't mess with here, just serving up a rich, meaty ragu — with probably no more than a handful of ingredients to it, all of them singing with flavour.
This doesn't take us anywhere near the 90 minute mark. If anything, we're looking for ways to stretch this out — a clementine sorbet, Christmas and summer fused together in each bite, another glass of the 'like Montepulciano, but with more attitude' red.
Much as we're up for a big reveal, it turns out Flour & Grape is exactly the great news it sounds like.
Flour & Grape, 214 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ.
Last Updated 22 December 2017