As a Barbican resident at the eastern end of the complex, the new Gattis restaurant in City Point is particularly of interest as it is probably the nearest classic style (rather than fast food or wine bar) restaurant to my apartment. Door to door in around 2 minutes!
The restaurant is the second Gattis – the first operates reasonably successfully in the Broadgate complex and the owners are seeking to replicate the success of this one within another major City office environment and have taken on, and completely refurbished, the big bar/restaurant establishment which was The Cuban. It has thus replaced Latin American style with the ever popular Italian cuisine, but because of the restaurant size needs to attract considerable custom to make it a success. It carries an identical restaurant menu to its Broadgate sister establishment so is hoping to attract existing custom which may find City Point more convenient than Broadgate, as well as build new clientele. It is thus looking to Barbican residents to perhaps provide some of the new business, particularly in the evenings.
Gattis is, according to restaurant owner Jennifer Carpenter, named after ill-fated star Italian chef-patron of the early 20th century, Gaspare Antonio Pietro (Luigi) Gatti who had run two hugely successful restaurants at the Ritz. Gatti was head-hunted away by the White Star Line to run its top a la carte restaurants on first the Olympic, and then the Titanic and perished in the icy Atlantic waters along with virtually all the Titanic restaurant staff who were prevented from accessing the lifeboats.
The owner of the new Gattis City Point restaurant has perhaps been a little optimistic so far on filling the space – particularly in the evenings. There is a relatively small upstairs bar area, but the bulk of the restaurant takes up a massive area on the lower level which can seat well over 100 diners. The restaurant is nicely appointed. Well spaced tables with nice crisp white tablecloths and comfortable seating. It is certainly not one of those seemingly low-cost Italian eateries that seem to abound around the Smithfield area, but has a comprehensive menu of classic Italian dishes to go with the upmarket decor. There is quite a small – and not wholly-Italian – wine list with house wines starting from around £20.50 which is about average for the area.
Food: Nice menu with plenty on it to attract for both pasta and non-pasta lovers. On our visit I started with a very pleasant Gamberoni all’aglio (£10.80) – Pacific prawns sautéed in garlic, herbs, lobster bisque and a shellfish reduction. A good sized helping and luckily I also had some bread with which to soak up some of the very nice sauce.
My colleague went for Calamari fritti (£10.05) – Deep fried calamari served with tartare sauce. Again a large helping of crispy fried calamari. Indeed the starters were almost as big as main courses I’ve had at some restaurants.
Mains: Again a nice selection. Being a calves liver lover I went for Fegato di vitello (£19.50) – Calves’ liver with butter and sage or grilled with bacon. I went for the liver and bacon but in retrospect should probably have gone for the less English combination – nice though the liver and bacon was – and for the more Italian style alternative option. The portions were large and nearly defeated me after the ample starter.
My colleague decided to go for one of the veal dishes and chose Medaglioni di vitello al limone (£19.95) – Veal medallions in a lemon and butter sauce which she declared to be delicious. We had a selection of vegetables (£5.50) to go with this. Cooked al dente – and the standout was a dish of fried zucchini. Wish I’d had more room to have had a few more of these tasty items.
We washed all this down with a bottle of 2011 Cotes du Rhone (£31.95) – pleasantly drinkable.
Probably shouldn’t have had dessert due to lack of internal space, but in the interests of the review did end with a selection from the trolley (£6.50) – actually not a trolley but a hand held board packed with a host of delectable looking offerings. I chose a raspberry tart which was really good and we also sampled the profiteroles which were of a high standard.
As can be seen from the above we had a good meal. The mathematicians among the readers will have noted that dining at Gattis is far from a low cost experience, but food quality is good – if not outstanding – and portions are large. You certainly shouldn’t leave feeling hungry. If the restaurant had been reasonably full there would have been a reasonable buzz and ambience, but it was not so the atmosphere was perhaps a little lacking
However Gattis does offer monthly special menus which would cut the cost of dining substantially. That prevailing at the time of writing is for dinner only and is for a 3-course meal (plenty of choice of starters, mains and desserts) plus a glass of prosecco or selected wine of the month for £29.50 a head – to which would be added the service charge of 12.5% and a cover charge of £1.25 a head.
There is also a pasta and prosecco offer at the time of writing at £14.95 but you need to mention this and check availability at the time of booking.
Gattis City Point is also offering Barbican Association members a 10% discount off the full final bill in the evenings.
As is the case of many centre city restaurants which perhaps rely on the business lunch trade for a major part of their business, Gattis City Point is open only from Mondays to Fridays, as is its Broadgate sister, but unlike the latter it also opens for breakfast from 8 am to 10.30 am. Lunch is served from 11.30 am to 3 pm and dinner from 6pm – 9.30 pm. Good coffee and drinks are served all day.
The official address is 1 Ropemaker Street but this is a little misleading as it is located in the heart of the City Point complex next to the Corney and Barrow wine bar. For reservations call 0207 628 83751. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org