Zucca is Decanter's Restaurant of the Year

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  • Thursday 5 January 2012

The ‘uncluttered and cliché-free’ Zucca in London’s Bermondsey is the Decanter/Laurent Perrier Restaurant of the Year.

Sam Harris

Sam Harris at Zucca: 'My ideal restaurant'

Zucca
has been open just two years, Decanter reviewer Brian St Pierre says in the latest issue of the magazine, but in that time it has won everyone over with its mix of ‘attention to detail with hospitality.’

‘The food is uncluttered and comforting, cliché-free Italian, accompanied by a splendid choice of wines,’ St Pierre writes of the winner of the Decanter/Laurent Perrier Restaurant of the Year award.

Zucca is the brainchild of London-born Sam Harris, a graduate of Leith’s cookery school, River Café, Bibendum and Harvey Nichols – and unusually a chef with serious wine knowledge.

His first experience of great wine was Barolo, he tells Decanter, which gave him a passion for wine which has remained undimmed.

‘I spent so many years going to restaurants and seeing wines I’d love to have but couldn’t afford… My theory is, as long as they’re selling well, I can afford slimmer mark-ups. So I can sell, say, four bottles of Sassicaia a week, as opposed to a couple a month at a higher mark-up, and everybody’s happy.’

Zucca is his ‘ideal restaurant,’ he says, ‘the one I’d want to go to myself, with tasty food, a small, manageable menu, and good wines at good prices.’

The Decanter/Laurent Perrier Newcomer of the Year is the ‘chic’ Galoupet in Knightsbridge, which St Pierre praises for its innovative and imaginative wine list and tastings, as well as its liberal approach to bring-your-own.

‘It’s also introduced what is surely a first for a wine bar anywhere – BYO all day Monday with one proviso: you have to offer the sommelier a taste.’

He concludes, ‘Basically…a place where you can have fun while eating well, discoveries included.’

Read the full article in the February issue of Decanter, out now

Panel tastings

Wine labels from some of the world's most famous wines

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