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Late in the afternoon on Easter Sunday, my son and I were looking for an interesting eatery after visiting the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. We wandered along Greenwich Church Street, and Bianco 43 was one of the first restaurants we passed. We liked the look of it straight away, but we decided to go a little further to see what other possibilities there were. We noticed Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Costa and one or two pubs, and decided that Bianco definitely appeared to be the best option. We walked back and were pleased to find that there was a choice of two tables on the ground floor. We picked the one towards the back of the restaurant.
Bianco is a tiny place and the tables are quite close together. My chair was right beside a cabinet where wine was stored, but the waitresses didnít seem to have any difficulty opening it. Tables are unpolished wooden ones, and chairs have cane seats. There is a decorative lantern on each table, but as it was still daylight these were not lit. The waitress brought menus before I had even had a chance to take my coat off and sit down.
We had looked at a menu in the window before coming in, and it consists of the usual sections one would find in an Italian restaurant. Starters include meatballs with tomato sauce, focaccia/garlic bread and buffalo mozzarella with tomato and extra virgin olive oil. We decided to go straight for the mains, where there is a good selection of pasta, pizza and meat or fish dishes. My son very quickly chose the fillet of sea bass with new potatoes and cherry tomatoes (£15.90). I was tempted by the salmon, and also one or two of the pasta dishes such as gnocchi, lasagna or spinach and ricotta cannelloni. In the end, however, I chose the pizza romana with tomato sauce, anchovies, capers, black olives, oregano and mozzarella (£9.90). There are plenty of other types of pizza on offer, such as four cheeses, Parma ham and mozzarella, Italian sausages, broccoli and mozzarella, or aubergines, mushrooms, courgettes and mozzarella. Side dishes are also available for anyone with a large appetite, and there is a childrenís menu which includes a bunny-shaped pizza.
When the waitress came to take our food order it seemed rather strange that she didnít ask us what we would like to drink. My son asked what kinds of fruit juice they had, and the choice was just between apple and orange. We both asked for apple (£2.50 each). It was clearly an inexpensive apple juice from concentrate served without ice, but the weather was so cold that we hadnít been hoping for a particularly chilled drink.
My son was facing the back of the restaurant and was able to watch the chef making my pizza in the clay oven. He apparently made one that ended up with a large hole in the middle and had to start again. Even so, my pizza was served before the sea bass. It looked huge and had plenty of capers and anchovies as well as quite a few black olives. I gave my son a small piece to try while he was waiting for his food. He had recently had a very good pizza in Venice, but his opinion of Biancoís was favourable. I was glad to have been given a serrated knife to cut it with, as this doesnít always happen. I left most of the outside crust because I knew I wouldnít eat the whole pizza, but I enjoyed the base, which was thin. The anchovies were certainly full of flavour, and I always enjoy capers.
It wasnít long before the sea bass was served on a delightfully decorative plate. The new potatoes were hiding underneath the fish but there were plenty of them, and the cherry tomatoes added a colourful topping. The waitress asked us if we would like any black pepper, but we declined. Again, my son had had some exceptional sea bass in Venice. Biancoís didnít quite match up to that, but it was certainly good enough.
Desserts at Bianco include tiramisu, profiteroles and cannolo Siciliano, priced at around £6. We had had cake earlier on in the cafeteria of the National Maritime Museum, so we didnít really want dessert. As we werenít particularly pressed for time, however, we decided to have a hot drink before venturing out into the cold once more. My son ordered green tea (£2.50) and I asked for a decaffeinated Americano with cold milk (£2.50). Decaffeinated coffee doesnít always have a good flavour, but I enjoyed what I was served at Biancoís. Our bill came to £40.28 and we didnít notice until afterwards that this included a gratuity of £4.48. We paid by card and left £4 cash as a tip, so they did pretty well out of us. Service was polite and efficient, it has to be said.
I visited the ladiesí toilet before leaving. It was actually a disabled and ladiesí toilet combined. It was quite spacious, with a wooden table providing space for a magazine and a vase of flowers. It wasnít impeccable but on the other hand there was nothing seriously wrong with it.
I mentioned that the tables were rather close together, and the one to the side of us was occupied most of the time we were there. Nevertheless, I didnít feel that we were unable to have a private conversation, and I donít think the other people were put off by being close to us either. Biancoís wouldnít be the ideal place, however, for an important business meeting or perhaps for a romantic dinner for two where privacy was desired. As it was, we didnít regret our decision to have a meal there, and I would happily go back if I was in the area again.
As well as being close to the National Maritime Museum, Biancoís is ideally located for anyone visiting the Cutty Sark or Greenwich Royal Observatory. I have no idea about parking facilities, but if you are travelling by public transport, the Docklands Light Railway is the best way to reach the area unless you fancy a river cruise.
Bianco 43 Greenwich Church Street London SE10 9BL
Tel. 020 8858 2668
Tables can be booked online, and there is a delivery service in south-east London from 5pm until 10.30pm every day.
Pictures of Bianco 43, London
Detail of the ground floor
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