Rucoletta, St Paul’s, London

Braised Venison with Parmesan Basket and side of Sauteed Potatoes

Braised Venison with Parmesan Basket and side of Sauteed Potatoes

Set Menu:

  • Location: Rucoletta, 6 Foster Lane, London, EC2V 6HH (nearest tube station is St Paul’s)
  • Date of Visit: Thursday 11th April
  • Time of Table: 7.00pm
  • Deal Bought From: Wowcher
  • Deal Price: £22 for Two
  • Dinner Companion: Twin sister, Jess

Getting More for your Money?

This dinner deal includes:

  • Two Starters
  • Two Main Courses
  • Two Desserts
  • For Two People
Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse

What we ate…

Katie:

  • Starter: Veal meatballs cooked with tomato sauce and served with crispy garlic bread
  • Main: Braised diced venison, with vegetables, red wine and tomato puree, served with a parmesan basket filled with pulses and sautéed pancetta
  • Side: Sautéed Potatoes with Butter (not included)
  • Dessert: Tiramisu

Jess:

  • Starter: Warm buffalo mozzarella on roasted tomatoes, toasted bread and balsamic reduction
  • Main: Braised diced venison, with vegetables, red wine and tomato puree, served with a parmesan basket filled with pulses and sautéed pancetta
  • Side: Sautéed Potatoes with Butter (not included)
  • Dessert:  Chocolate Mousse

 

Refreshing white wine

Refreshing white wine

What we drank…

  • Bottle of Arpeggio Catarrato, Settesoli  to share (white wine)

What did we think?

Juxtaposed against the impressive grandeur of St Paul’s regal silhouette, and tucked down a very unimposing side street, hides family-run Italian restaurant Rucoletta, a swinging rustic green board it’s only visible signpost. Literally across the road from St Paul’s tube station, or a mere five minute walk away from nearby Barbican, Rucoletta is in a fantastically central location and the perfect choice if you are after traditional Italian food that bypasses the many popular chains out there today. This small business has 30 years of experience that is clearly demonstrated with their thoughtful and imaginative menu combinations as well as a high standard of service.

Inside Rucoletta

Inside Rucoletta

Upon entering, we were instantly engulfed in the deliciously fragrant and relaxed atmosphere.  Blank white walls acted as a canvas for loud poster style print art pieces, with accents of red and dark wood adding contrast. This venue is on the small side, with a long and narrow structure, looking more and more cramped the further you headed towards the kitchens at the rear. However, we were seated on a table for two directly next to the door and tucked in the first corner next to the large front windows – an ideal spot that actually seemed to be the most spacious table in the whole eatery. I loved the simple yet elegant table presentation, decorated classically with a small vase of blooming yellow roses, wooden salt and pepper shakers and crisp linen napkins, illuminated by a tea light candle. I felt instantly soothed after my day in the office as the environment was so comfortable, and seemed to actively encourage you to unwind.

Veal Meatballs

Veal Meatballs

The great thing about this particular deal was that it very inclusive, giving us a whole three courses each. As we mused over the menu for our first course, we picked out a white wine for our meal. Usually I opt for rose, as I hate dry wines that make the mouth pucker, and roses tend to have a sweeter and fruiter flavour that whites, however, this evening I fancied a change.  We went for a bottle of the Arpeggio Catarrato, which was ideal as it wasn’t dry in the slightest, yet very light with a hit of punchy flavour.

To kick off our tasty Italian adventure, I decided to try the veal meatballs, served with a tomato sauce and crisp garlic bread. Granted, when it arrived it was nothing like I expected, but I still enjoyed it nonetheless. I know starters aren’t meant to be massive, but this one seemed to be incredibly small to me, with three dinky sized meatballs plonked at regular intervals across a rectangular white plate, small slices of the garlic bread nestled in between; the tomato sauce generously spooned across all of the components. The garlic bread was more like a larger crouton, or a bit like melba toast, and I couldn’t really grasp any garlic, so it was more purposeful as a texture contrast, adding a meaningful crunch and bite to the sloppy sauce and succulent meatballs. The meatballs were lovely with the thick tomato sauce, bringing to live an Italian classic but with a twist using the veal. Without the sauce I thought the meatballs were rather bland and ordinary, yet on the whole the mix of tastes worked well in unison. It disappeared rather quickly due to its small size, but at least it whet the appetite well so that I was really looking forward to my main course.

Simple yet classy

Simple yet classy

I continued my theme of going for something different by choosing venison as my next course. Served in a vegetable, red wine and tomato puree sauce, the meat was absolutely divine. Each diced segment radiated with rich red meat flavour, enhanced by the aspect of wine in the sauce. The venison was also cooked to perfection and was beautifully tender, each morsel simply falling apart benevolently at the mere approach of your knife. As well as the dreamy meat, what attracted me to this dish was the parmesan basket. My curiosity was aroused as I had never heard of these before and I was intrigued as to what it would be like. To start with, it looked great, the cheese coloured basket balanced atop the meaty mountain of venison, and stuffed with round chickpeas dotted with streaks of sautéed pancetta.  Cutting into it proved a bit of a challenge and it was rather chewy, yet held a lovely taste that balanced out the meat nicely, and was also super good with the pulses within. The combination of all the separate components worked really well together, and this trait definitely seems to be Rucoletta’s trademark move, as perusing their menu will show how they love to experiment with the bundles of ingredients they piece together lovingly to produce a really creative and imaginative menu. I really loved my main course and could rave about it all day; it hit the spot completely and the intensely delicious flavours blew me away.

Italian favourite Tiramisu

Italian favourite Tiramisu

On to round three – dessert. Like any traditional Italian restaurant, the dessert menu wouldn’t be complete without an appearance of creamy coffee classic tiramisu. Since Jess and I couldn’t decide between this and the chocolate mousse on offer, we went for our usual indecisive tactic of ordering both and sharing equally, thus getting to sample two desserts instead of both having the same. The tiramisu was actually quite a large portion, with plenty of chocolate dusted all over the dessert and plate, mascarpone oozing out of almost every edge. It was simply glorious with a delicate yet flavourful boost of coffee laced sponge fingers amidst the luxurious mascarpone. Really tasty and a definite winner. The chocolate mousse was also wonderful, served in a sundae like style with a layer of runny cream on top, sprinkled with ginger biscuits adding a hint of crunch. The chocolate mousse was light in flavour, yet thick in texture and actually tasted more like a torte than a mousse, which I really enjoyed, as I feel it contained more depth of flavour – and let’s face it, who wouldn’t want more depth when it comes to chocolate? We literally scoffed dessert extremely quickly as they were both so divine…not so ladylike on our part!

Buffalo Mozzarella

Buffalo Mozzarella

Making a second reservation? Yes, absolutely. I would even come here without a voucher as I feel the prices are incredibly reasonable anyway, and even more so when you look at the high quality of food and service that was delivered. We paid £22 for the original voucher, which covered our three courses each. On top of this, we paid £15 for a bottle of wine to share and just over £3 for a side to share, all in all making a very reasonable meal. They were slightly cheeky and charged us tip on the original cost instead of the discounted one, but since our bill only reached roughly £15 each anyway, we didn’t overly mind this time.

Long and thin interior

Long and thin interior

I thought that Rucoletta was a very interesting restaurant. What I liked most was their menu. It has very clearly been extremely well thought out to include imaginative and interesting ingredient combinations that still herald to Italian cooking yet provide something different for us to munch on, providing an abundance of game and fish dishes and hardly any chicken (which seems to be rare in any style of restaurant). All of the choices sounded really tasty, each one with its own modern quirk. The presentation was also lovely and all the dishes looked extremely appetising as they reached the table, inviting us to dig in. What was also great was that we got to take our pick from the entire full price menu – there was no special ‘discount’ set menu for us and we were treated like any normal paying customer. It was refreshing to have such a varied range of meals to pick from without any restrictions.

The succulent and tender venison

The succulent and tender venison

The atmosphere was also fantastic, being perfectly cosy and comfortable with a decided welcoming vibe that had many passers-by glancing in with interest and quite a few people randomly coming in to find out more. It definitely has a chilled out vibe, and paired with such high quality food, it makes such a brilliant venue to head to. The location is also incredibly desirable and easy to reach, so there is no excuse why everyone shouldn’t try there at least the once!

The view from our window sided table

The view from our window sided table

The Dinner Dates Opinion:

“I really liked Rucoletta. Firstly the location is ideal, it’s very close to Barbican/St Pauls which is convenient for me, but it’s down a side street so is also nicely quiet too. The atmosphere was very comfortable, we had a nice table right by the window which was slightly away from the other tables so it seemed like we were by ourselves. The food was gorgeous and there was a good selection of dishes. For starter I had the mozzarella  which was beautifully presented and had great flavour. The main was also great – it was a braised venison with a very cute and flavourful Parmesan basket. It was so tasty! Dessert we had to share since we couldn’t decide! The chocolate mousse was rich and luxurious and the tiramisu was a classic. Overall, I was impressed with the dishes I had and there was definitely other things on the menu that I want to try. I would go back for a return visit to Rucoletta, especially since the London prices weren’t too bad.”

Majestic monument St Pauls

Majestic monument St Pauls

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2 thoughts on “Rucoletta, St Paul’s, London

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