Does anyone know the fate of La Lanterna restaurant on Mill Street SE1? It's been closed "for refurbishment" for months now- that phrase oft used in lieu of "no longer in business". Whilst it was a little off the pace in recent times, it used to be a fabulous Italian restaurant with some of the best pizzas in London.
Á chacun son goût, as the saying goes, I thought La Lanterna was a grubby little place, I tried it once, thought that perhaps I'd caught it on a bad day and tried it again weeks later, still salmonella Central to my way of thinking.
Likewise Il Bordello in Wapping, certainly not as dirty, but it gave me the impression of an aspiring greasy spoon, I remember the food wasn't so bad, but the tables were packed close together, and the staff seemed to be auditioning to be aloof Parisian waiters, but without the panache to carry it off.
La Lanterna was started by the guys who own Il Bordello now. They then opened Il Bordello & eventually sold La Lanterna before buying & fairly recently selling one in Limehouse Basin. Il Bordello in my opinion is great - fun, buzzy & good pizza & pasta. As some have said it would be great if they took back La Lanterna
I never visited La Lanterna, but around ten or fifteen years back I would patronise a Rotherhithe pub occasionally on early Sunday afternoons, where an eclectic mixed bunch of 35-45 y.o. couples would all slide to La Lanterna where they'd order a small plate of pasta each, in order to be able to quaff as much wine as they could manage.
They made it sound like a fun time, but as much as I enjoy a drink, I couldn't summon up the desire for a plate of spag-bol just to get plugged in to a bottle of Pinot Grigio.
I did dine at Il Bordello once, and although I remember the food was quite good, the cramming in of so many tables meant that you were constantly leaning one way or the other to let the waiters struggle around.
The two sittings thing doesn't sit well with me either.
We could have had 19.30, but then you'd be checking your watch instead of relaxing and digesting your food, in case the 21.30 crowd were baying at the door.
We had the 21.30, which suited us, having a leisurely one or two in the Town of Ramsgate before walking to the restaurant, but if four or six of you were going, you'd all have to be O.K. with the later eating time.
For myself, as a black cab driver, as were the two guys with us that night, being plagued by minicab touts on leaving the restaurant didn't fill us with delight, but that was no fault of Il Bordello, those pond life are everywhere now.