Taking its name from the humble, versatile pumpkin itself, Zucca is a homestyle Italian restaurant that focuses on seasonal, simple dishes brilliantly cooked and served with a smile. Situated just down from London Bridge in an area buzzing with new cafes, bars and restaurants, Zucca stands out for its reasonable prices, excellent fare and inviting interior. The signature dish at the moment (and year-round, really) would have to be the zucca fritti – pumpkin slices and flowers fried in light-as-a-feather pastry. Listed among the starters (antipasti), the generous portion is simply garnished, easily wolfed down and comfort food you couldn’t dream of improving on.
The literal translation of the Cantonese signature dish Dim Sum is “touch the heart”, a reference to the aim of merely whetting the appetite rather than sating it. At Yauatcha, the Dim Sum are separated depending on how the pastry is made and cooked. From steamed to grilled, baked and fried options, and the menu unravels as you read it. Luckily this season there’s one dish you just can’t miss: the Duck and Pumpkin Puffs. These delicate pastry parcels are stuffed with duck and pumpkin, baked and glazed and served straight to your autumnal appetite!
The pared-back yet award-winning Bocca di Lupo has been a Soho favourite since opening in 2008. Featuring regional specialities in food and wine from across Italy, the menu changes twice a day and is strictly seasonal, carefully sourced from known farms and producers in the home country and as loyal to the classics as it is to the culinary curios. One of its all-time most popular dishes is the innovative Pumpkin and Amaretti Risotto: dressed with butter and sage, this is a heart-warming, stomach-lining dish of sweetness and spice.
In a similar vein but replacing rice with melt-in-the-mouth pasta parcels, the Pumpkin Ravioli at the cosy, friendly Sopranos Restaurant on Kensington High Street is also cooked in creamy butter and soothing sage, before being fairy-dusted with shavings of Parmesan and those almond amaretti biscuits, to give you a taster of three courses in one plate.
All of these atmospheric spots and more are within easy reach of the super centrally located Amba Hotels Marble Arch and Charing Cross, so you can get your pumpkin fix no matter what time of year you visit!