Perc%nto a fire alarm won't deter its customers

Percento, 26 Ludgate Hill, London EC4M 7DR

On your way to the Docklands on the border of the City and Fleet Street area, you'll find the Perc%nto Restaurant and Bar. It opened in October 2000 when chef Valentino Bosch, hailing from the North East region of Italy, introduced an initial menu for Christmas and a revised one for the new year.

The bar is upstairs, effectively separated from the restaurant, and regularly enjoys the presence of a jazz trio. The restaurant has an interesting position underneath Porters Hotel, conference centre and health club. The latter of which adjoins the restaurant at the lower level. So now you can pig out, work out and sleep out, all in visit! Perc%nto

Frequented by Barbican residents and City slickers alike, this bright and airy restaurant has the right kind of atmosphere both for romantic liaisons and for entertaining business associates. A modern European feel, with chrome furniture and tiled flooring and a sand wall. Overall there's a sort of electric mariner ambience.

I spoke to some of the guests to understand their view. A beautiful Italian lass told me she eats there regularly because the food is high quality yet unpretentious "just like my mother would cook, back home in Sardinia). An "upper class" venue in the Italian sense of "to show off in front of friends". A Spanish guest found the restaurant, "lively, creative and relaxing". The back wall is a popular feature, as the whole of it changes color, and the mood, every few minutes.

Starting with Scottaine di Pollo con Rucola e Pomodorini (served with grain mustard and pecan nut dressing), the chicken was superbly tender with a nut flavour that really came through nicely. The dressing of oil with veal juice, apple and vinegar, really complimented the pecans tastefully. The Branzino Marinato al Limone Verde e Avocado (marinated with lime leaves and cumin) was perhaps a little dry ands might have benefited with a little more lime and oil.

From the daily specials menu supplement, I had Filetto d'Agnello in Crosta di Formaggio con Patate (fillet of Welsh neck of lamb with a blue cheese crust and dauphinoise potatoes). The lamb was a little under done for me, but the cheese was absolutely brilliant and the potatoes were very good. I highly recommend this dish. My guest found the Ossobuco di Vitello Brasato al Timo e Limone con Tortino di Riso (braised with lemon and thyme) very tender and succulent with a nice aromatic flavour to the sauce and the risotto.

Finally we had raspberry mousse with chocolate leaves and raspberry coulis, and Baked apple and puff pastry tartlet served with a cinnamon ice cream. We were lucky enough to sample the Gelato di Percento too, a great house speciality.

The owners of Perc%nto are aiming for a comfortable, high quality Italian restaurant. I asked one customer why they hadn't moved when the fire alarm went off, getting the response, ".. the food's too good to desert!” Judging by the other customers’ and our own reaction, this sentiment was held by all.

Tel: 0207 778 0010

Wally Robertson & Paul Page, February, 2001

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