Fantastic reasonably priced Italian on Berkeley Street
Category : Restaurant
| Cuisine : Italian
Address : 19 Berkeley Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 8ED, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.bocconcinorestaurant.co.uk
Opening Times : Mon - Sat: 12pm - 00.30am, Sun: 12pm -10.30pm
Closest Tube : Green Park
Private Dining Room : Details
It‘s a testament to London‘s desirability that two Russian restaurateurs chose the same street on which to open Italian restaurants, with Bocconcino opening up shop a stone‘s throw to the north of Novikov on Berkeley Street. Spearheaded by Michael Gokhner, Bocconcino is inspired by the clean flavours and warm ambience of the eponymous restaurant on Forte dei Marmi, a seaside resort town in Tuscany.
The Berkeley Street dining room is grand in scale, split between two floors by a helical, wrought-iron staircase. The upstairs area is peppered with small, cosy alcoves, exposed brickwork and a café au lait design scheme that‘s equally suited for date nights, business dinners or lazy lunches with the family. For a bit of theatre, the downstairs section features a bar and open-plan kitchen, where pizzaiolos knead and toss the dough before popping the pies into a wood-fired oven.
Early on a Wednesday evening the dining room was filling up quickly. Service was convivial and attentive, shortly after taking our seats we were greeted with welcoming cocktails and given the menu, from which we chose a trio of starters. A burratina d‘Andria was an unctuous little orb of creamy mozzarella, served with roast aubergine and a basil pesto. We mopped it up with alacrity, using moist rosemary focaccia. Calamari is often a good bellwether dish. As it‘s so popular it‘s a great test of how precise the kitchens are - and the calamari at Bocconcino was spot on with a crisp, light batter and no hint of chewiness, as well as a tangy tartar sauce.
Moving on, we felt obliged to order the titular pizza, with toppings of velvety stracchino, mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and salty parma ham. It was a masterclass in lightness, with a thin crust and slightly blackened cornicione. Grilled seabass was a lovely option. Served with a potato crust, its mother-of-pearl flesh calved off with the slightest application of the fork. We wrapped up the evening with a NYC-style cheesecake with a biscuit crust and passion fruit compote, as well as a pizza dolce, one of Bocconcino‘s specialties, topped with dark chocolate and forest berries. The cheesecake was one of the best we‘ve tried and the pizza really demonstrated their talent. It was a great note to go out on.
Bocconcino is a great Mayfair destination for quality food served at Soho prices, and an elegant setting at that. On the other hand, if you want to enjoy a pizza that‘s a cut classier than the rest, Bocconcino‘s the ideal destination.