Saturday, 23 October 2010

Santore review Exmouth Market Italian restaurant - catering to bulk business

Address: 59-61 Exmouth Market
London EC1R 4QL
Tel: 020 7812 1488
Nearest Tube station: Farringdon

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £15 pp
Service charge: 12.5%
Taste: **
Service: ***
Ambience: ***
We have always been intrigued by Santore every single time we walked past it at Exmouth Market and have been meaning to try it ever since we heard from someone that they do pizza ‘by length’. So instead of a disc bread base, Santore’s is a rectangle, big deal right? Truth to be told, it was the £8.95 lunch set (2 courses) that sealed the deal.

In fact, we did try to lunch there a couple of times and were rebuffed every single time because Santore opens only at noon (we have this nasty habit of skipping our breakfast during weekends and go for brunch instead) and we ended up at Caravan and The Ambassador.


So we made it a point arrive right after noon last weekend and to our surprise there were already quite a number of tables filled with three serving staff running the whole show. Nevertheless, we were promptly led to our table. The table was only set for one and I had to request for another set of cutlery when our dishes were served later. I guess Santore could do with more staff during that time of the day.


Wife thought that the description for her grigliata mista di vegetali was rather misleading. Instead of ‘freshly grilled vegetables’, the staff merely scooped it out from a couple of serving dishes that laid in the open near the main entrance. That said, we love the virgin Poland balsamic vinegar dribbled over the vegetable selection and decided it tasted almost as good as Ottolenghi’s.

My bruschetta Napoli was rather disappointing. The bruschetta arrived limped and chunky tomatoes laid on barely held on to it. The garlic olive oil barely registered. It was a far cry from a similar one that I had at Camino.


It was quite apparent that Wife didn’t like her linguine alla carbonara. She found the cheese overwhelming and declared it ‘too creamy’ for her liking, and went on to pile it on my plate.


I guess she took comfort at the sight of my arrosto di maiale in glassa con patate al forno, which was dismaying to say the least. The three pieces of roasted pork, which were barely marinated, tasted more boiled than roasted. The potatoes (roasted as well) tasted better but not that much. I was famished at the point in time having skipped breakfast and even that failed to improve my appetite.


While Santore’s ambience has a good feel to it, it is definitely catering for a large turnover of customers. A very affordable set lunch also means that other respects may be lacking – water marked glasses and jugs for one. Even its toilets have got this ‘public’ feel about it. Well, just walk down the wobbly (cantilever) staircase to take a look.

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Ute@HungryinLondon said...

Santore is the favourite pizza place of my Italian friends and they took me there once. I thought they pizza was rather good, clearly better than the dishes that you ordered looked...!

C K said...

Really? Hmm, will return for the pizza the next time round then. Any particular variety to recommend?

Ute@HungryinLondon said...

here my post about santore, I am not a huge pizza fan in general but did enjoy the pizza there, the one with fresh mozzarella (Buffalina) was good and the Italians recommend the Siciliana with aubergines.
Good luck if you give it a second try... :)