Sunday, 19 September 2010

Carravagio - Sept 2010

Where: Caravaggio, Camberwell Church Street

With who: The California Kid, The Art Tart and assorted others.
How much: starters £4 to £5 and mains around £7 to £9

What we need much more of in this country are the little local restaurants, putting fresh, well prepared food in front of their local customers with an understanding that with quality, in terms of service, ingredients and preparation, comes repeat business and profitability. It's a virtuous circle far removed from the endless, turgid chains pumping out minimum wage warehouse prepared crap, served by minimum wage servers who care little about their customers or the food that they serve.

With this rant over, it's fair to assume that I want to really like local Italian restaurant Caravaggio. Sandwiched between a couple of decent spots (including Silk Road, Tadim and Angel's and Gypsies) on Camberwell's version of Restaurant Row, it's a family owned place and even after only a year or so in operation, feels like it's been there for years. 

I feel slightly as my parents may have felt in the 70's and 80's. Chirpy waiters chat freely over cheesy pop to their regular customers in a large wood and garish wallpaper lined back room. It's comfortable, if not particularly stylish. The menu is as they'd have expected, lined with straight forward pasta, fish and meat standards. There's no innovation here, but you wouldn't expect it at the price.

After the obligatory sliced pre bought baguette (basket, paper napkin) and mixed olives I started with a fair enough (and large) portion of King Prawns in a piquant tomato sauce and followed with a bubbling homemade lasagne straight from the oven. I wouldn't say it was the best I've ever had, tasty enough, but over salted and low on meat. That being said, it was a massive portion for £7 and I certainly didn't feel shortchanged at the end of it. Another bottle of wine and a complimentary limoncello (just like mum and dad used to get..) we rolled out. Deservedly busy on a Monday night, it's definitely a good standby option for a cheap eat in Camberwell, if not somewhere you'd make a journey for.
Caravaggio on Urbanspoon


  1. The problem I found with Caravaggio was that it didn't taste authentically Italian. It felt like a fairly amateur interpretation of Italian standards as cooked by a local Turkish-Cypriot family, which is what it is. I can't put my finger on exactly what was wrong, and, like you, I wanted to like it. But there was something not quite right with the food. The wrong combination of herbs, sauces not quite rich enough, an over-reliance on salt and spice...

  2. I really enjoyed the couple of meals I've had at Carravagio London, yes the food doesn't quite do it but it's the atmosphere of the place that keeps me coming back. If I'm looking for some simple Italian-ish food and a warm, unpretentios dining experience then Carravagio is more often than not the place I'll head to before any other.