Marcella, Deptford: restaurant review
British sensibilities meet Italian flavours in Deptford's new pared-back neighbourhood joint. Expect fresh pasta, saffron arancini and an extensive Italian-only drinks list
What's the draw
Marcella, with its sparing interiors, vintage Italian posters and bar stools, might feel more like a slice of central Italy than Deptford High Street. But the new little sister to Peckham trattoria Artusi is a welcome addition to South East London, bringing simple but creative Italian nosh cooked at a semi-open kitchen.
What to drink
The drinks list is all Italian, from wine (go for the fresh, lively montepulciano and sangiovese blend from Rosso Piceno in the 'calf' of Italy), to classic cocktails and aperitivi. We plumped for a negroni sbagliato – which replaces the heady gin kick of a classic negroni with a prosecco top – and an Amaro Montenegro spritz: marmaladey in its tang and bitterness, and a great alternative after a summer of Aperol.
What to eat
A mix of small plates, pasta dishes and larger mains means you can share your way around the menu pretty easily. Dishes change throughout the week, but simple, fried artichoke served with smooth aioli and topped with nutty parmesan is a mainstay for a reason. Pasta is made in-house (obviously), from rigatoni al pomodoro to squid ink bucatini with calamari, capers and a tomato and black olive sauce that's much more than the sum of its parts. Our highlight, though, was lightly smoked lamb saddle with tender, salted turnips and parsley root purée; and we'd advise finishing with chocolate mousse, whipped cream and black cherries, which somehow manages to avoid both being over-rich and feeling like a dish straight out of the 1970s.
Small plates from £7; wine from £3.60 by the glass. 165a Deptford High Street, SE8 3NU. marcella.london