Dinner at Amico Bio, Barbican

I admit - having never been to a purely vegetarian restaurant before, when I was invited to dine at Amico Bio, one of London's top vegi restaurants, I was a little nervous. Don't get me wrong, I love vegetables, but I also love meat. So the idea of a three course dinner, that didn't contain what I had always deemed an essential element to complete a meal, seemed a little daunting!

Snapshot of the door!

Nonetheless, I needn't have been afraid, as Amico Bio certainly didn't leave me feeling like anything was missing! As we entered, we were kindly greeted by Head Chef, Pasquale Amico, who opened Amico Bio in 2010 to bring vegetarians and meat eaters alike the opportunity to experience his particular style of Italian-vegetarian cooking,

Cute and quaint interior :-)
With ingredients sourced from his family's organic farm in Italy, and delivered twice weekly to the London restaurant, the imaginative and innovative menu changes daily, yet always features a mouthwatering selection of starters, pasta, risottos and main course dishes.

To graze on

After being brought a dish of what emerged to be absolutely delicious pumpkin crisps, we glanced over the menu and made our selection.

Nicely set table
To start, I choose the Insalata Amico Bio - described on the menu as a 'Roasted pepper, tofu, fennel, courgette, pumpkin, aubergine, bulgur and tomato salad'. Expecting a traditional bulgur wheat mix with a few vegetables throughout, I was amazed when the gigantic 'make-your-own' salad was brought out to me, with all the separate ingredients dotted around the board.

Make your own salad!

Phillip, who accompanied me to the restaurant, ordered 'Crostone di pane con pate di funghi' - freshly toasted sourdough bread with a pate of mushrooms and carrots, which came served with a mangetout salad on the side.

Mushroom pate on sourdough

Bearing in mind he joked before we entered that he'd "take me for drinks and a KFC afterwards", he managed to very quickly clear his plate, and admitted he may have been wrong about the vegetarian diet!

Table set

For my main dish, I was torn between the Scialatelli con seitan, a vegan tagliatelle pasta with seitan bound in rich tomato and onion sauce, and the Tortino de peperoni - a red pepper, brocolli and pumpkin tortino, served with roasted beetroot and mushroom puree. Since Phillip was going for a pasta dish, I decided on the Tortino. Admittedly, I wasn't all that sure what a Tortino was and, even though the lovely waitress explained, what I received wasn't quite what I had expected!

Delicious Tortino, but just a little light as a main course
Don't get me wrong, it was lovely, but after sampling Phillip's pasta dish I was very annoyed with myself for forgoing the homemade Italian pasta, as Phillip's dish, Maccheroncini Pugliesi con pesto - fusilli pasta with rocket and cashew nut pesto - gave me serious food envy! Despite not being a huge pesto fan, the home-made Italian pasta, with the perfect amount of al-dente bite to it, was arguably one of the best pastas I've ever tasted. So when the girl next to me ordered the Tagliatelle with Seitan (which I later found out is a wheat gluten protein), and a deliciously carby plate bound in what appeared to be a rich tomato sauce, I was kicking myself even more. It was most definitely my kind of dish!

That's more like it - arguably the best pasta I've ever tasted!

Having said that, it emerged to not be such a bad thing that my main was a little lighter, as it meant I still had room to try out the delicious deserts- from almond fritters, to poached pear with chocolate sauce, and almond and lemon cake with passion fruit ice cream, it was certainly an appetizing selection I'd of hated to have missed out on!

Torn between the virtuous Vegan chocolate cake served with hazelnut ice cream, and the more saintly Coconut sugar free cake with a tangerine and mint salad, I decided to go half and half - ordering the Coconut cake but with replacing the fruit with chocolate ice cream. Everything in moderation, right?! And this time, I couldn't have chosen better. The coconut cake, sweetened with agave as opposed to cane sugar, was absolutely delicious, and the rich cocoa vegan ice cream was the perfect accompaniment to satisfy my naughtier side!

Phillip, on the other hand, played it safe and stuck with the selection of vegan homemade ice creams and sorbets. With six different varieties to choose from, he went for the passion fruit, chocolate, and pannettone. Whilst all were lovely, we both agreed the chocolate was without a doubt the nicest, yet still remain in awe as to how vegan ice cream could taste so good! How do they do that without using milk?!

Finally, to finish off a delicious three courses, we ordered a couple of freshly brewed Italian coffees, served with a lovely dark chocolate Italian biscuit.

To finish

All in all, I had a lovely time, and would definitely recommend Amico Bio to both vegi's and non-vegi's alike. Even Phillip was converted by the end of the meal (and we didn't have to make that trip to KFC!).

With main courses ranging from £7.50 - £14, a three course meal for two would cost around about £60, very reasonable considering the creative menu, fresh and organic ingredients and service that went above and beyond what could be expected. I don't what was better - the food or the service -but I know I MUST make a return trip to trail a proper serving of that delicious handmade pasta!

Amico Bio Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Amico Bio are currently offering a Mothers Day special fpr a 3 course lunch set menu £24.50 per person,  including a glass of prosecco, coffee or tea, so the perfect excuse to treat yourself and your Mum at the same time! Check out the menu here!


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