With a refurbishment complete, and Francesco Mazzei in place as Chef Patron, is Sartoria now the restaurant its Mayfair location demands?
Words: Alexander Larman
One associates Mayfair’s Savile Row with the very best in tailored suits, a reputation that it has upheld for decades. What one is less conditioned to expect is top-class dining, and indeed the major restaurant on the row, Sartoria, had long heard grumbles of ‘great location, shame about the food’.
All has now changed after an extensive refurbishment. The room is pretty much the plushest and most comfortable dining establishment around – in the face of some competition – and the owners have installed the estimable Francesco Mazzei, late of L’Anima in the City, as Chef Patron. But does it live up to the hype?
The answer is ‘mostly’. There’s a sleek atmosphere of old and new money, which, coupled with the somewhat hushed tones inside, is likely to deter anyone looking for a livelier experience. But Mazzei, who somehow was never awarded a Michelin star for his food at L’Anima, is a serious cook, and the Italian delights on offer are very, very good indeed at their best.
One thinks of top-notch antipasti, with little treats of n’duja and creamy burrata, followed by pastachinja, a sort of deconstructed lasagne with little pieces of aubergine and meatball, to say nothing of perfect tortelli, again with burrata and n’duja.
This is food of the calibre that critics salivate over; it’s also priced reasonably fairly by Central London standards, especially when it comes to the veal Milanese. £55 for two might sound expensive, but for cooking of this calibre, it’s a bargain, especially when accompanied by the perfect zucchini fritte, which makes eating courgette seem like the most decadent thing known to man.
Wines, by the glass and otherwise, are perfectly matched – a fine Soave and rich Chianti Classico are especially good – and dessert, if you can manage it, is a marvel as well, with roasted pineapple and bergamot cream two of the real highlights.
So, by rights, this should be a five-star rave of a review. However, what lets the whole operation down a couple of notches, oddly enough, is the service. The staff are friendly enough, but we found ourselves being given slightly short shrift. Lengthy waits elapsed between courses; a delicious-looking bread basket was never proffered. Perhaps it was down to being a busy Friday night, or another easily remedied oversight, but it left a faintly sour taste for what is otherwise a top-notch restaurant and a welcome revival for this Row stalwart.
20 Savile Row W1S 3PR; 020 7354 7000; sartoria-restaurant.co.uk