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In Horto, London

23/06/2023 by .
In Horto

Anthea Gerrie Discovers Tuscan Delights In Southwark’s Own Rustic Italian Restaurant In Horto

Southwark may be an unexpected location for a rustic, indoor-outdoor restaurant which looks as though it belongs in Tuscany, but give it a chance and In Horto will take you there with its hearty Mediterranean flavours.  Described as “inspired by nature and fuelled by fire”, the unusual name is Latin for “in the garden”, and as spring was giving way to summer we  enjoyed the dappled light dancing from shuttered walls enclosing the bucolic new space between London Bridge and Tate Modern known as the Southwark Quarter.

Plants draping down from the rafters softened the tables of plain, rough-hewn wood on which food finished in a huge open fire was set down before us in black cast-iron skillets.  Dishes were developed by chef Richard Teague as an ode to the wild but we found the flavours complex and more sophisticated than that inspiration suggests, with a touch of eastern as western Med and the best of British produce to boot.

In Horto

It seemed appropriate to start with a smoky cocktail invoking a Tuscan bonfire, in this case a delicious Old-Fashioned, fumed in the glass with a smoke gun (£10) and served with a piece of charcoal as a visual garnish along with the usual twist of orange peel. It would be worth coming to In Horto just for one of these and a plateful of bite-size chorizos with honey and mustard dressing (£7), a favourite sharing snack.  Also great for whetting the appetite are good olives (£6), Padron peppers with Aleppo salt (£6.50) and a great bread basket, steep at £4.50 per person, but a vital vehicle for the unmissable burnt onion butter(£3).

In horto

In Horto baked Tunworth cheese

Starters at In Horto ranged from the delicate – a salad of heritage beetroot with vegan feta, toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds(£9), and a gorgeous pile of white crab meat served with charred lettuce and brown crab mayonnaise (£13.50) to the macro – a whole wood-fired baked Tunworth cheese enriched with confit garlic and truffled honey to share (£24 but worth every last slurp).

In horto

Wood-fired is definitely the way to go for mains at In Horto; as we feared the oven might be a little fierce for the lemon sole with sea vegetables and cockles, we shared an order of slow-roasted lamb with harissa-dressed vegetables (£20 for one person is definitely a big enough serving for two after such substantial starters) and a couple of macro side dishes to die for – half a charred Hispi cabbage and a helping of the fattest, most satisfying confit potato chips in London – like the green salads which are the only other sides, £6 per portion.

In Horto confit potato chips

While there are other enticing-sounding meaty mains – wood-fired chicken served with spiced sour cherries, for example, and onglet steak with that rural Italian favourite, cima di rapa greens – vegetarians are also exceptionally well catered for with whole baked cauliflower, wild garlic and goat’s curd gnocchi and wood-fired rice served with baby artichokes, courgettes, sun-dried peppers and aioli, all priced in the high teens.

In Horto charred Hispi cabbage

From a small but carefully curated selection of wines by the glass, we enjoyed an organic Chianti from Poggiotondo (£13).  Interesting to note there is a section for orange wines along with the normal red, white and rose, with a choice of two bottles from France, although the Italians are making their own natural wines these days.  A selection of guest wines means there is always something unexpectedly interesting to be tasted from this list compiled by a clearly well-travelled and curious sommelier or MW.

While no one needs a dessert after this lot, we could not resist sharing a chocolate mousse served with honeycomb and salted caramel (£8), though purists might prefer Italian classics including tiramisu, strawberry-bedecked panna cotta and affogato served with biscotti.

In Horto chocolate mousse with honeycomb and salted caramel ice cream

We rolled out into the Southwark sunshine after two hours at In Horto feeling as if we had just arrived back in grimy London from a day trip to Tuscan wine country.

Tell Me More About Dining At In Horto

In Horto 53b Southwark Street London SE1 1RU

In Horto is open for lunch and dinner, serving all day on the weekend but closed Mondays.




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