‘You’ll have to try my friends restaurant in London, its one of the best Italian restaurants in town’ said our very amiable driver Poppie on the journey from Naples to Positano.
It turned out that Poppie was quite the foodie and his friend happened to be the two Michelin-starred chef Antonio Mellino. A quick google revealed that Quattro Passi was indeed as Poppie described it ‘one of the best Italian restuarants in London’ so we didn’t waste any time in booking it up as soon as we got back home to blighty.
The restaurant is located on Dover Street in Mayfair, the chic haunt of London’s super rich. The interior is stylish and lowly lit with a warm atmosphere. Additional points were scored with Gemma as she was presented with a bag stool for her prized Jimmy Choo handbag.
We arrived a little early so took up the invitation of a drink downstairs in Quattro Passi’s piano bar the QP Louge. We were slightly surprised and a little disappointed by the lack of Prosecco on the menu which made Champagne the order of the day as we each ordered a cheeky glass of Veuve Clique. This was followed by two Belvedere Vodka’s, soda and fresh lime before we headed back upstairs to our table.
The tables are spaciously laid out such that you don’t feel crammed in or self-concious of your conversation being earwigged by fellow patrons. These subtle touches help give a relaxed, unpretentious feel to a refined dining experience.
The menu makes good on its promise to bring the flavours of the Amalfi Coast to London and a quick read immediately took us nostalgically back to Positano and our stay at the Sirenuse hotel.
While we perused the menu we were treated to fresh, light, fluffy olive bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This was a good sign of things to come.
To accompany the meal I selected a Montepulcianno Riserva which was smooth and medium bodied. There was a slight tanin taste and the wine could have benefitted from some additional breathing time but overall it was very pleasant.
To start Gemma opted for the Beef Carpaccio with Rocket salad whilst I plumped for the Tempura Courgette Flowers stuffed with Ricotta and Mozzarella.
The very generous portion of beef carppaccio was well seasoned and melted in the mouth. Cheese oozed from my courgette flowers which were packed full of flavour with a light and delicate tempura coating.
Antonio is considered a master pasta maker so we were looking forward to the first course with anticipation. It didn’t disappoint…my Parpedelle was served al dente and accompanied by Porchini mushrooms which had a garlicy, earthy flavour.
Gemma chose spagetti with fresh crab and cherry tomatoes. The pasta was well cooked again and the dish was pleasant without being outstanding. The main criticsm was a fairly meagre helping of crab and tomatoes which left the dish a little bland.
For the main course I had ordered Whole Dover Sole with “Amalfitana” source while Gemma chose the Rack of Lamb with Parsnip cream, Beetroot crumble, Runner Beans and Hazelnuts.
My lemony sole was perfectly cooked to the point and came with a lovely herb dusting.
The rack of lamb was tender, juicy and served pink, just as it should be. As with the carpaccio the lamb melted in the mouth and was very well executed.
Both dishes came with roasted, rosemary potatoes which complemented each dish equally well.
The most disappointing part of the night was the moment we both realised we had no room left for desert!
The price was reassuringly expensive at around £300 and the service was excellent all evening. The staff were attentive without being overbearing.
If you are looking for an authentic, refined Italian dining experience where the staff are friendly and the restaurant unpretentious, take Poppies advice and visit one of the best Italian restauants in London.