A parade of shops surrounded by Lambeth Council flats houses the usual barber, off-licence, mini-mart. And Rustico – a properly Italian restaurant, with properly Italian cooking. A caponata was the correct blend of sweet and sour, the parmigiana nicely baked; in both cases the aubergine was meltingly soft. Dish presentation is simple in the extreme: the parmigiana presented like a ready meal, but we couldn’t argue with the flavours.
Both a pizza and a saltimbocca suffered from a garnish too far. The veal with prosciutto and sage a classic dish, but the addition of a 1960s-style English salad (tomato, cucumber, lettuce, no dressing) did the dish no favours. The pizza bas was was also very good, but the fiorentina topping comprised raw spinach leaves and shards of cheese that would have worked better as a salad.
Despite these caveats, there’s good cooking at the heart of this restaurant. Service was muddled and amateurish on our visit, but with a bill coming in at under £50 with wine and service, Stockwell folk aren’t complaining.
By Guy Dimond