Test Driving Sette - Italian in Knightsbridge via New York

setteroomThe main restaurant at Sette. This used to be the Rivea bar, note that the big staircase down the middle of the room has now gone. 

What can you tell us about Sette?

It's the new restaurant at the Bulgari Hotel (yes, the one that's related to the top end brand) in Knightsbridge. Originally home to Rivea (a Ducasse-run restaurant), this has been taken over by the same group that runs Scarpetta in New York (and a few more restaurants worldwide). Sette is an upscale Italian restaurant, taking in some influences from its American cousins.

Where is it?

It's about a five-minute walk from Knightsbridge station. You can get to the restaurant through the main lobby, but they've also created a new separate entrance on Knightsbridge Green which is the nicest way to approach this.

Has the look of the restaurant changed much?

Considerably. The space was previously home to Rivea, and with the switch in restaurants, they've made some big changes. Rivea was a downstairs restaurant with a bar upstairs - with an opulent circular staircase that joined the two in the middle. Now that staircase has gone, and the restaurant and bar are completely separate entities - with the restaurant upstairs and the bar - Nolita Social - below ground.

cocktailTrying out the cocktails at the below-ground Nolita Social. This is Gelato Ai Cioccolato - Yagura cachaca, chocolate spiced liqueur, lime sherbert, PX Sherry (£14).

So thinking of drinks - that's the place to head to first?

There is a small bar in the restaurant itself, but yes, the downstairs bar is worth checking out. Now in its enclosed space, it's much more of a proper destination bar than before, something the hotel really needed. More importantly - the cocktails were on point.

What kind of food can we expect from the restaurant?

Given the location - in a five-star Knightsbridge hotel - expect a high-end experience here, with prices to match. There's definitely an influence from the other restaurants in the Scarpetta group with a few of the classics from overseas making an appearance. It's generally a traditional Italian style menu - starters, pasta, mains, desserts - with a few added extras like the "crudi" section and some other influences on the cuisine throughout.

Here's what we had on the night.

octopusBraised octopus - artichoke, marble potato, celery, guazzetto, charred spring onion vinaigrette (£14) - there's some wonderful plating going on at Sette.

tunaTuna susci - marinated carrot, microgreens, preserved truffle (£13) - from the crudi section, alongside salmon, seabass and yellowtail creations. 

crab1Tagliatelle - devon crab meat, spring pea, pancetta, preserved lemon (£22) - all of the pasta plates are brought over in a glass cloche and unveiled at the table - giving them this towering look. The pasta is excellent though.  

codBlack cod - caramelized fennel, tomato confit (£30) - from the seafood section that also fits in scallops, halibut and sea bass. 

tenderloinVeal Tenderloin - gnocchi alla romana, root vegetable, glazed sweetbread (£30) - as long-term readers will know, we do love a sweetbread dish.

What's it like for vegetarians?

There's plenty on the menu in both the starters and the pasta section - with the former having a verdure section devoted to veg, including cauliflower romesco and one of the vegetarian pasta dishes is the signature dish of the restaurant.

spaghetti1Spaghetti - tomato, basil (£16) - this is the signature dish, coming from Scarpetta in New York. It may look simple (and even have a slight coming-from-a-tin look due to the cloche, but it showcases how a simple pasta dish can be done so well with simple and great ingredients. Pricey, but this did live up to our expectations. 

asparagusCharred asparagus - poached egg, summer truffle, asparagus purée, country bread (£14) - a bit of a brunch vibe going on with this dish. 

How about desserts?

It's worth at least sharing a dessert (all £10) - as they have a strong selection on offer. In addition to the below, we fancied the espresso bundino with salted caramel, chocolate biscotti and hazelnut gelato.

cherryBlack cherry tartufata - sweet corn cream, macerated raspberry, crispy milk and yogurt sorbet (£10) - a beautiful looking dessert.

lemoncakeTwice baked lemon cake - ivory lime cream, milk jam, blackberry, lemon sorbet (£10)

cheesecakeDulsey cheesecake - apricot compote, apricot sorbet, pistachio (£10) - good dessert, but that little meringue pipe on the side was a little unnecessary, mind. 

And drink?

Wines by the glass start at £10 or £38 a bottle, with just a few available sub £50. But if you're splashing out, then there are plenty of opportunities here. Fancy a Tenuta Dell' Ornellaia 'Masseto' 2012? That's yours for £1150. 

So Knightsbridge is a little on the extravagant side - is there a more affordable way to try Sette? 

While this is certainly aimed at a more well-off and well-coiffed clientele, the set lunch at £23/£29 for two to three courses is a pretty good deal. Plus, that does come with the signature spaghetti dish - so it's worth considering if you really fancy trying that. 


Sette is a restaurant that knows its market - a restaurant that is squarely aimed and the Knightsbridge set and with pricing to match. But under that, we found plenty to like about the menu, not least the much-talked-about pasta from Scarpetta that really did live up to its billing. 

Hot Dinners ate as guests of Sette - prices are correct at the time of writing.  


More about Sette

Where is it? 4 Knightsbridge Green, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7QA

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @settelondon


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