Verderame opened in September 2020 on busy Westbourne Grove. The owners run a bar in Blackfriars, but this is a separate venture. The head chef here is Gabrielle Erba, originally from Genoa. The décor is quite simple, with reasonably well spaced tables, good lighting and plain wooden chairs that are not designed to encourage lingering. There is a large pizza section on the menu but also a full set of Italian dishes. As a nice touch, you can either have a regular full-size pizza or a smaller, oval shaped version if you want to try other dishes too.
The mostly Italian wine list had 44 labels ranging in price from £20 to £95, with a median price of £40, with an average markup to retail price of 2.4 times, which is generous by London standards. The list failed to include vintages, which is not a big deal for the cheap wines but would be useful for the pricier ones. Sample references were Pinot Grigio Blush Terre degli Osci at £25 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £16, Gavi di Gavi Nuovo Quadro at £41 compared to its retail price of £13, and Il Bruciato Tenuta Guado Al Tasso from Antinori at £70 for a wine that will set you back £24 in the high street. At the high end of the list the mark ups were very moderate, with Laurent Perrier Rose NV at £75 compared to its retail price of £73, and the extremely drinkable Brunello di Montelcino Castello Banfi 2014 at £75 for a wine whose current market value is £61.
To begin with, penne arrabiata had a pleasant sauce of tomatoes, garlic and a decent kick of red chilli, though the pasta was distinctly on the al dente side. It wasn’t quite raw, but definitely needed another minute or two of cooking (10/20). Burrata was very plain, just with a few salad leaves without dressing (11/20). Bottles of oil and vinegar were provided at the table so I suppose you could improvise and make your own dressing, but surely it is the job of the kitchen to prepare the food. Otherwise they may as well just invite you into the kitchen, leave you with a large knife and a few squawking chickens and leave you to get on with it.
I tried the small pizza, in this case a diavolo. The topping was fine and the base had reasonable texture, but it had a bizarre element of sweetness. When I enquired about this I was told that the chef added honey to the bread base, which is not something I have come across before and not something that I want to come across again (10/20). Sea bass tasted cheap and farmed but was cooked perfectly well, served with roast potatoes, pine nuts, cherry tomatoes and green olives (11/20). As a side dish, grilled aubergine and courgette with a solitary basil leaf was harmless enough (11/20).
Desserts lifted the level of the meal. Rum baba can so easily dry out, but here there was a good amount of rum and no issues with dryness of the bread base (13/20). Tiramisu was also very respectable, having a decent kick of coffee flavour and pleasant texture in the sponge fingers (13/20). Coffee was just basic Nespresso pods.
Service was fine, and the bill came to £82 per person, though that was with one of the best wines on the list and a separate Campari and soda. If you shared a modest bottle of wine between two then a typical cost per person might be around £55 for three courses and coffee. Overall Veredrame was a pleasant enough experience, but the undercooked pasta and peculiar pizza base make it hard to unequivocally recommend, despite the quite decent desserts.