La Locanda del Melo, translatable as “The Appletree Inn”, is a cute Italian deli and restaurant just off of Bermondsey Street and an absolute must if you are on the hunt for a tasty Italian treat.
Before I even knew about it, La Locanda struck me with its vintage, slightly faded sign of an elegant female silhouette in a 19th century attire and its name: old-fashioned, poetic and musical and unapologetically Italian.
The Locanda has a deli area at the front, where you can buy Italian cheese and cured meats, and a vast selection of Italian products, like dry pasta and tinned goods, all carefully displayed on shelves on the wall. Every time I enter I have to check myself from oohing and aahing at the packets of pasta al nero di seppia, bags of baci di dama, jars of bottarga and other delicacies that are typically Italian but much less common and usually not available in normal stores.
You can buy your favourite Italian treat, get a sandwich to take away or eat a proper meal at the back, where the ristorante is. I have not been to the restaurant yet but I am already pressing at work to have our next team lunch there!
La Locanda is not only pleasing for the eyes but also for your taste buds: I visited this place for lunch twice for a sandwich to go and both times I was beyond happy with my choice. The first time I had a focaccia with prosciutto crudo and mozzarella, a couple much more solid than Brad and Angelina; on my second visit I detoured from my all-time favourite prosciutto and ventured in a speck and Valmontana cheese combo on ciabatta bread.
There are a lot of traps in a sandwich with so called Italian products and my hyper-aware sceptical judgement was ready to detect them all. To my own surprise, both these two options were flawless: the ham was cut thinly enough, because you want slices of prosciutto, not steaks; the focaccia was fresh and fluffy, nothing like the stodgy imposters you find in some bakeries; the cheese was actual cheese, not plastic, and if you ever bought a Tesco mozzarella you know what I mean; the whole ensemble was delicious, flavoursome and comforting and made my lunch hour a little more home-y.
To be a little bit more informative, La Locanda del Melo has a website with an online shop, and you can find it at 218 Long Lane, London, SE1 4QB.
So follow my very informed opinion and get your lovely persona to La Locanda del Melo to treat yourself with thinly sliced prosciutto sandwiched in fresh, fluffy focaccia, milky and delicate mozzarella, some veggie bits and a drizzle of olive oil. You might find me there, staring longingly at the deli counter.