Gem is an English Literature student at Queen Mary University London with a passion for concerts, queer literature and all things vegan
On a hazy Wednesday afternoon in Bow, my sister and I wandered in to a welcome addition to Roman Road: Bacaro. Positioning itself as a restaurant with ‘roots firmly based in evolved Italian cuisine,’ Bacaro offers a uniquely artisan experience while introducing diners to a delicious slice of Italy.
This is achieved by a thoughtful selection of Italian produce and a stripped-back, yet flavourful menu. The menu’s simplicity means there is a short selection of vegan dishes available, nevertheless, Bacaro were wonderfully accommodating, providing a personal level of table service.
The atmosphere was laid-back and got livelier as the evening progressed, though never sacrificing its relaxed feel. Families, couples, groups of friends and individuals dined amongst the wood-y artisan décor and under impressive light fixtures that glowed as the sun set.
Decoration is something Bacaro does well. Simple table accents such as mock-crystal candleholders and plenty of foliage adds to the restaurant’s intimate and elegant vibe.
This was also present in the menu. We chose to share a simple starter: Sicilian giaraffa olives and sliced sourdough bread, which was no avant-garde feat, but proved extremely tasty. The sourdough was moist and fresh and was served with herby balsamic vinegar and oil that perfectly complemented the generous serving of pungent olives.
Freshness of food is key to Bacaro’s culinary success, avoiding the common dryness I find with sourdough in favour of aerated softness. The olives, too, were firm and succulent, especially well-paired with a glass of pale rosé.
The texture of my sister’s beef ragù orecchiette was outstanding. Al-dente pasta juxtaposed tender beef, which she described as ‘wonderfully familiar’ and ‘melt-in-the-mouth.’ I saw too that the dish was generous with its parmesan – an automatic win.
My vegan options were small plates of slow-cooked chickpeas and an aubergine stew. The aubergine stew was a simple tomato-based dish, fragrant and moist. I even asked for extra sourdough to enjoy the leftover sauce. Fresh basil and capers complemented the other flavours of the dish well.
But, the slow-cooked chickpeas proved to be the star of my night. The dish was lacking some crunch, and I feel might have benefited from some pine nuts. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the nutty tahini and soft chickpeas, and the presentation of the green of the rocket and vibrant purple flowers contrasted the red of the tomato dish beautifully.
There was no vegan options for dessert, but luckily we were both too full, so we revelled in the restaurant’s aesthetic whilst comfortably sipping wine and watching the sun set.
Averaging around £15 per main course, dining here might not be something every student could afford regularly, but it is a perfect place to take visiting parents.
If you enjoyed this you may like reading our review of Barge East
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