The Independent’s John Walsh ends his run of visiting fine restaurants – “three or four hits in a row, no duds” – with a visit to Vico in London WC2H, a new initiative from Jacob Kenedy and Victor Hugo, the duo behind Bocca di Lupo. He scores the restaurant just one out of five in each category of food, ambience and service.
“It’s hideous. From a central black pole, harsh naked lightbulbs illuminate an arrangement of curved, wipe-clean wooden planks at which you eat perched on blue stools. The food is arrayed behind glass on a long, yellow counter. There’s no menu. You have to peer through the glass to read what’s on offer, on little bits of paper. There are six varieties of pizza (how long have they been sitting there?) and bruschetta with cherry tomatoes and anchovies, skewers of melon and parma ham, skewers of squid with potatoes – none of it terribly inspiring. But mostly there are balls: arancini balls, deep-fried beetroot balls, deep-fried balls of lasagna.
“I asked the woman behind the counter if anything was freshly made. Oh yes, she replied, there are prawns and whitebait and some cod. Four minutes later they’d been tossed in a light batter and fried. The cod was soft and mushy rather than firm. The whitebait tasted of nothing. The prawns had been fried with their heads, tails and shells on, a uniquely pointless exercise.
“A combination skewer of meats – tongue, chicken, brisket and cotechino pork – offered four cold, deep-fried lumps of dried-up dreck; the chicken reminded me of Chicken Nuggets, only less appetising. ‘This is Italian fast food,’ said my daughter Clementine. ‘But who on earth would want to eat that?’” Continue reading