Il Bordello

81 Wapping High Street 
London E1W 2YN 
020 7481 9950

QJ and her mom were in town, and we wanted to have a nice Italian meal. After reading theboywhoatetheworld’s review of Il Bordello, we were dying to check it out. So we went there for lunch on this bright sunny day.


Il Bordello is situated in a very nice neighborhood. It’s not the most conveniently located restaurant, (unless you take a taxi of course) and it took us about 20 minutes to walk from Tower Hill Tube Station to get there. However, it was such a lovely day, and the neighborhood was so clean and cheerful that we didn’t mind the walk at all. Along the way we encountered no less than 20 joggers, and there were hardly any cars on the street. We were very surprised to stumble upon such a lovely part of London.

Anyway, Il Bordello is a medium sized restaurant, very brightly lit, and with very charming Italian servers. We felt very relaxed and welcomed the whole time we were there. We were warned beforehand that they serve food in rather large sharing portions, so we ordered 3 mains to share among the 4 of us.


We started off with an asparagus starter. Unfortunately the asparagus was totally overcooked, and sat limp on the plate, flattened by the weight of a little layer of melted cheese. A didn’t mind that it was as mushy as it was since she likes her vegetables that way, but for the rest of us we found this quite shocking.


After that, our mains arrived. Every single one of our mains was delicious. The Lobster Aurora came served in a tacky aluminum foil swan (which was quite unnecessary), and tasted phenomenal. The sauce was infused with a good amount of lobster juice. The bed of seafood linguine sitting under the lobster fully benefited from the flavors of the lobster, and this was a very good dish. We were most excited about this dish as we read about it online, and it didn’t disappoint at all. This dish is not listed on their main menu, but on the daily special board. However when we called to enquire, we were told that it’s available every day.


We went for the Tagliatelle special as well. This was basically a tomato based seafood pasta dish. There was a very generous amount of scallops and langoustines tossed in the pasta. Some of us felt that the sauce was a little too rich, and that the tomatoes overpowered the freshness of the seafood. Nevertheless, this was delicious.


For our third main we went for something different from what we would normally go for. We chose the Monkfish served with rice. We had no idea if it would be good at all, but once we tasted it, we knew we had stumbled upon a winner. This was the best dish of the 3 we had by far. We are usually very picky over how rice is cooked, since we eat so much of it in Chinese food. However, we couldn’t fault this at all. This plate of rice was very well cooked, much to our surprise. We loved the rich and flavorful sauce, and the wonderful pieces of fish which were also perfectly cooked. Overall, it was everyone’s favorite dish, surprising as it may seem.

We had just about some room for desserts, and we ordered a tiramisu and a duo of sorbets – mango and lemon. There was this particular dessert in the menu that we enquired about, and to our surprise our waiter told us that he didn’t like it and we shouldn’t order it. This was quite a funny episode, and it added to the friendly, charming atmosphere of the restaurant.


Our sorbets were fantastic. There were real mango bits in the mango sorbet, and lemon zest in the lemon sorbet. Both tasted very fresh and clean, and were perfect for such a bright and sunny day.


The tiramisu was huge. We had just gone to Princi the day before, and naturally we were going to compare the tiramisu at both places. Firstly, the tiramisu at Il Bordello is easily twice the size of Princi’s. (I think they cost about the same price.) Also, the general opinion is that Il Bordello does a better tiramisu. K felt that the one at Princi was a little too soggy and had too much coffee, and preferred the one at Il Bordello as it was less overpowering and not as wet. 

Overall, Il Bordello is a restaurant that we wouldn’t mind revisiting, even with its inconvenient location. They obviously have their fans – we were there on a Tuesday afternoon for lunch, and the restaurant was almost full. While eating we took a look around at what other people were having, and if we return we’ll definitely be ordering their seafood platter which many other people were having. Portions are really big at Il Bordello, so we recommend going in a big group and sharing dishes family style.

Service: 8/10
Food: 7.5/10

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