THE VIBE: Stumbling across a hidden culinary gem in Mayfair always comes as a pleasant surprise, and none much more pleasant than this temple to all things great about classic Italian food. For this little slice of Viva Italia in the heart of London, think staff just the right side of formal who can guide you through every little nuance on the menu, a sleek but relaxed crowd of Mayfair-dwellers who might have tired of the usual high concept London restaurant experience and are looking for something a little bit lowkey but still fabulous, and a warm, homely interior that makes you feel like you’ve come home to mama! All in all, everything conspires together for a delicious evening out.
THE MENU: The phrase ‘Italians Do It Better’ definitely comes to mind when thinking about this fantastic menu of some of Italy’s greatest food hits. Start with a few antipasti to get your tastebuds going – the caprese di burrata salad is a major hit, the cheese ever so soft and heavenly. We swiftly hovered through a plate of perfect waver thin tuna carpaccio, before being presented with the mains, where we decided to go old school and tried the lasagne al ragu di Chianina, based on a 100 year old recipe celonging to the head chef’s grandmother – and indeed it has stood the test of time. With not much room to spar, we still managed to get through a whole sea bass, done the traditional way in a salt crust – and it was a winner through and through! We threw in a tiramisu for good measure, and were amazed that this old trusty classic could feel so new, but at the hands of Italian masters like this, we really shouldn’t have been surprised!
THE DETAILS: Babbo, 39-40 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4JQ. Open for lunch 12pm-3pm; Dinner, 7pm-11pm. Reservations: 0203 205 1099