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Restaurants, Italian Barbican
3 out of 5 stars
2 out of 5 stars
(3user reviews)

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Italian restaurant inside the Barbican

Can dinner in a conference centre ever be funky? The brains behind Osteria, an upmarket Italian restaurant in The Barbican certainly hope so. They’ve opted for a look that says: ‘1970s Swedish airport lounge’ (naturally): all chequered fabric seats, low lighting and a sax-heavy smoove jazz soundtrack that wouldn’t sound out of place in a ‘70s Scandi porno (or, erm, so we’ve heard). Waiters buzz around an oak trestle table topped by fat lengths of salami milano, kilner jars of rosemary oil, tomatoes that look like wrinkly bums – you know, all the artisanal produce of Mother Italy. The real highlight is the view, though. Bag a window seat at night and you’re treated to lights twinkling off inky black water features and dramatic close-ups of skyscrapers.

The Italian fare’s elegantly presented, simply cooked. Think saddle of rabbit draped with endives that look as though a fretting chef had anguished over how best to delicately manicure them into position. Highlights: a soft-poached egg wobbling delicately atop al dente asparagus and aromatic pumpkin-seed-studded pearl barley. But a trio of dry, claggy, ravioli and a bland slice of polenta in salty gravy was less successful.

So, dinner in a conference centre: is it funky? Not really. Some of the cooking’s not bad, though.


Address: Level 2, Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre, Level 2
Silk St
Transport: Tube: Barbican or Moorgate
Opening hours: Mon–Sat: 12 noon–10pm (last orders) / Sun: closed
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Users say (3)

2 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

2.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
2 people listening

I expected a lot from this restaurant as it had the former head chef of Arbutus, Anthony Demetre, hence I recommended it for a business lunch to a group of 6 colleagues. The place is quite difficult to find, but it give stunning views of the church when you finally reach there. The waiters were extremely friendly and professional, and the set lunch menu was on the cheap side. However, the food seemed to be very simple and lacking in flavour. I had the chicken broth and the venison ragu and both seemed to lack much taste (maybe they were going for the health-conscious approach?). My colleagues did enjoy the place and they did have other dishes. I think I have to give the place another chance and go back in the evening instead for something off the lunch set menu.


Located on the second floor in the Barbican, it's nice to pop In for a pre or Post dinner drink. The cocktails and drinks are nice, but pricey and good is very expensive, buy they have some good deals. The restaurant itself is a bit cramped and lacks any character, nothing special here.


Soulless, unimaginative and tired offerings from a chef who cares more about impressing one table - he kept going out to attend to one table on the night we were there - than to offer something worth of his métier.

 Arbutus was a favourite and the former head chef heading to Osteria was an exciting news for me especially since Barbican is my second home. I thought it's about time that my second home has a worthy restaurant. I have always gone to Jagged Hare or walk over to Exmouth for supper after a show, gig or film. Austria disappoint at every level.

The most delicious dish we had that night was the pralines which I didn't take photos of which came with our espresso. The artichokes with my sea bass was dry and overcooked. the portions were tiny and the lemon tart was sweet instead of tart and zesty.

Don't waste your time. I for one, will continue to walk over to Exmouth Market or go to Jagged Hare for seasonal offering.

PS: And the service? Appalling!

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