Pasta and prawns – from the specials menu – at Le Querce
Cheers! Prosecco to accompany our meal and some fresh bread
A few months ago, I was surprised to find a gem of Tapas restaurant in the unlikely location of Honor Oak. The suburb is a halfway spot between one of my best friend and my homes so we are gradually working our way through the bars and restaurants in the area. As I cook Italian so often at home, I don’t often eat it when I go out, so I’m always looking for that extra ‘something’ when I seek out Italian restaurants to frequent. A few weeks ago, we paid an impromptu visit to Le Querce on Brockley Rise in the Honor Oak/Forest Hill area. The restaurant covers two shop fronts – one longer with tables dotted around the centrepiece bar, while a shallower group of tables in the adjoining section next door. The night in question we arrived, it was pretty busy, but as we were a party of two, they were able to accommodate us straight away. The interiors were fairly simple: wooden tables, comfortable chairs and the sort of photos you’d see on a wall in someone’s home, giving it a laidback feel and leaving the focus on the food.
Le Querce was opened by Italian chef Antonello Serra in 2006, who previously worked at the Michelin-starred Il Faro in Sardinia and Assaggi in the city of London. The concept seems to be recreating the essential Italian dining experience – great food and wine and sharing the experience with friends and family. The restaurant prides itself on using fresh ingredients, which are locally sourced, which was evident in our dishes. Having looked at neighbouring tables’ generous portions, my friend and I decided to avoid the starters so we had room for our mains. We were celebrating my friend’s recent engagement so ordered a bottle of Prosecco and some fresh bread to keep hunger at bay while we waited for our food to be cooked. The staff were friendly and attentive, and if you happen to speak any Italian, it would be well received too. One thing of note is the restaurant also caters to people on a gluten-free diet.
Costata di Manzo Inglese (Sirloin steak)
The menu is an authentic Italian set-up, comprising of Antipasti, Primi and Secondi piatti or pizza. Mains range from £7 to £14, with an extensive specials menu daily. I ordered Prawn Pasta off the specials, while my friend opted for Costata di Manzo Inglese (English Striploin Steak with diced Aubergines all’agrodolce). I’m happy to say the prawns in my dish were of a hearty size, and plentiful as I’ve often found other restaurant have ‘shrimped’… I mean scrimped on how many they’ve doled out. The tomato sauce was subtle in flavour and didn’t overpower the prawns, which were cooked perfectly. The thick pasta was a lot easier to eat than spaghetti and had the density I prefer. My friend really enjoyed her steak, which was juicy and succulent. Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. The food was delicious, the service was friendly and you felt like you were at an Italian family’s (albeit a large family!) home. After eating our meal, there was no pressure for us to leave as we sat chatting over the remainders of our Prosecco. I would highly recommend Le Querce for an experience of authentic Italian dining and at a reasonable price too.
- Le Querce, 68 Brockley Rise, SE23 1LN. Tel: 02086903761. Nearest train/overground: Honor Oak. For more information, visit the Le Querce website.
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