Perfect Italian from one of Europe's oldest wine producers
Category : Restaurant
| Cuisine : Italian
Address : 15 New Burlington Place, Mayfair, London, W1S 2HX, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.frescobaldirestaurants.com
Opening Times : Mon-Sun 12pm-1am
Closest Tube : Oxford Circus
The Frescobaldi family has been a major player in Italian history and culture since the 12th Century, which has given them ample time to perfect the art of eating and drinking. Having begun producing wine in 1308, over the years they've sold to such historical personages as Michelangelo, Pope Leone X and Henry VIII, so you can be sure you're in good company, or at least famous company, when enjoying a glass of their Tuscan Chianti. These days they produce over 7 million bottles a year.
However, the Frescobaldis aren't a family to rest on their laurels either, which is perhaps why they, along with Levent Buyukugur and Sanjay Nandi of the Good Food Society, have created a new outpost in Mayfair, so Londoners can sample a taste of la dolce vita without purchasing a plane ticket to Florence. Nestled on New Burlington Place, Frescobaldi is sure to be a popular one with al fresco diners in the summer months, but the interiors are just as alluring. The spacious dining room is spread across two floors - it's a paean to the Italian peninsula, replete with starched white tablecloths, warm wooden panelling, wine racks densely thicketed with Frescobaldi bottles, and mosaic columns depicting Dionysian scenes. On a Friday night it was filling up quickly with a smartly dressed, cosmopolitan crowd.
One thing that you notice when visiting Frescobaldi is the volume of chefs bustling around the open-plan kitchen downstairs. As with any true-blooded Italian eatery, there's an obsession with precision. The team is run by young head chef Roberto Reatini, who previously rattled the pans at Zafferano and Shoreditch House. His talents are complemented by sommelier Fabrizio Pavlic of Hotel Cipriani in Venice.
During our visit we were treated to a lovely bottle of Pomino Pinot Nero 2011, which was light enough to handle any of our dishes without overpowering them. Homemade bread was brought to the table immediately. Moist focaccia and wafer-thin Sardinian pane carasau were a pleasure to dip in the peppery Laudemio olive oil which, as you may have guessed by now, is also produced by the Frescobaldis.
Spaghetti with clams and bottarga was well executed, not too oily with meat from the shellfish and an iodine finish from the code roe. A starter of perfectly al dente paccheri with a ragu of rabbit, olives and thyme was the consummate exemplar of the dish, the short tubes of pasta immersed in the deep, rich sauce. Veal Milanese was better than any schnitzel we've had in London, hammered as thin as pizza dough with a crisp batter. The veal chop, on the other hand, was dictionary thick, exuding a buttery flavour, served with mashed potatoes and mushrooms.
We tend to prefer savoury to sweet, but the dessert course at Frescobaldi was a bravura finish to the evening. The tiramisu was anything but conventional, the orb of custard and coffee submerged affogato-style with espresso and crested with a chocolate tuile. However delicious, it was put to shame by a chocolate tart, shot through with a beautiful mandarin filling and topped with a sphere of homemade vanilla ice cream.