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Food & Drink Life Westminster

Sartoria, Mayfair, makes the cut

  • May 23, 2024
  • 4 min read
Sartoria, Mayfair, makes the cut

Sartoria, is a top Italian restaurant in Mayfair, which has earned high praise and is up there with the best. Take a stroll down to Savile Row, the legendary home of English gentleman’s tailoring. Pass the Burlington Arcade and its statue of Beau Brummell, then continue through the glittering marble and brass-fronted shops, that show case exquisite smoking jackets made of oriental Chinese silks. The deep leather tan aromas of luxury accessory shops and Swiss Rolex jewellers will guide you to the ‘Row’ of razor-sharp tailoring, from Oscar red carpet creations to the wardrobes of our very own kings.

There, boldly fronting the northern end, is Sartoria, which conveniently means tailoring in Italian.

Sartoria, a homage to classic Italian cuisine and part of the D&D Restaurant group, sits comfortably among the glamour and is overseen by the executive chef, Francesco Mazzei. The urbane Mr. Mazzei comes from the Italian heel, Calabria, and trained in Rome and at the Dorchester, just around the corner. He was head chef at The Corbin and King in St Albans, but built his reputation at L’Anima. He is one of the finest Italian chefs in London.

Sartoria is the perfect Mayfair destination with timeless and classic decor and a Calabrian-inspired menu. The restaurant boasts a destination ‘buzzy bar,’ private dining, and truly informed staff. Farouk and Carla were a delight, serving us efficiently and knowledgeably. A corner seat offered a sweeping view of not only the restaurant but also the Row, essential for watching the well-heeled Mayfair set shop and get… well… ‘well-heeled’.

The à la carte menu had starter dishes ranging from £18 to £35 with sides of £7.50. If you want a fabulous pasta dish, it’s there, but so also is the high cuisine and romance of Italian cooking at its finest. The bread and olives are made on-site and are a revelation, worth the price of entry. With the olive oil, they are a meal in themselves. Try to restrain yourself, or the tiramisu at the end of the meal will not find a home in your tummy. The wine list is extensive, with almost 200 different bins in the cellar. Admittedly, the show-stoppers of Burgundies at £3300 cater to the Mayfair Brummells. However, a very delicious Gavi di Gavi La Meirana 2019 at £85 was more in budget.

The veal with tuna sauce, chickpea hummus, and black truffle at £16.50 was presented like a Titian masterpiece, showing the kitchen has an eye for colour and presentation. I was reminded of the old chef maxim: “The first form of digestion is the eyes,” and this dish did not disappoint in both visuals and flavour, setting the standard for all the food to follow. Dishes like the beef battuta with spring asparagus and Grana Padano at £18.50 and the grilled octopus with cannellini beans, watercress, and smoked ricotta at £19.00 continued to impress.

The “Secondi” came with a flourish. If you are feeling decadent, you must have the Scottish lobster tagliolini with Amalfi lemon, chili, and basil at £39.00, or if a more down-to-earth ‘peasant dish’ is desired, the aubergine parmigiana at £24.00. Be careful what you wish for, as traditional Italian cooking can be unexpected to the Anglo palate, and this is true of the aubergine. I loved the zucchini fries, which along with the breads, are truly moreish at £7.50, but it was the pickled Italian vegetables at £7.50 that stole my heart.

Zucchini Fries

If at the end of this magnificent Italian ‘Bella Figura’ you have room, then the gelato is a must. So much is written about Italian ice cream that even Joe Biden would remember it without a teleprompter. You will not, I promise you, be disappointed.

About Author

Philip Ashby Rudd

Philip Ashby Rudd, a Dorset-based writer, artist, and hotelier, boasts a colorful past. After rubbing shoulders with Damien Hirst at Goldsmiths College, he took a brief detour as an army officer—albeit a short-lived one, thanks to a memorable encounter involving a taser and one too many drinks. Under the tutelage of Raymond Blanc, he honed his culinary skills before acquiring Bishops Cottage, a hotel in Lulworth Cove, once home to Bishop Wordsworth, the poet's great-nephew. Where he once spent his days channeling the spirit of Jeffrey Barnard, he now critiques restaurants for EyeOnLondon, a venture he co-founded.

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