So what do we need to know about Sartoria?
This D&D restaurant has been around for ages but closed in August last year for a major refurb, reopening before Christmas with a new Chef Patron in charge, Francesco Mazzei - formerly of L'anima in the City. It's been given a very private club feel (not surprising as the designer David d’Almada was also responsible for Mayfair's Arts Club).
Where is it?
On the corner of Savile Row and New Burlington Street - equidistant from Piccadilly and Oxford Circus tube stations (although most of the diners here looked like they had their own chauffeurs).
Where should we meet friends for a drink first?
If you want to meet up elsewhere, your best bet would be to find a bar across Regent Street in the Carnaby/Kingly St area - lots to choose from there. But there's a large bar here at the restaurant, with its own bar menu if you wanted to just pop by for a quick lunch or snack.
Our Rossa Rosmarino cocktail (Belvedere, Solerno blood orange liqueur, black cherry marmalade and rosemary) came with a bowl of the best olives we'd ever tasted and two little canapes. A good start.
Where's the best place to sit?
There are two large private dining rooms raised on the right hand side of the room (Aldo Zilli was celebrating his 70th birthday in one on the night we went). Along the edge of both the dining room and bar is a terrace (which must be lovely in the summer and was furnished with blankets for any hardened smokers).
If you're in a large-ish group, there are some new banquettes in the centre of the room which looked to have the best aspect, but we rather liked our corner table with a sofa, which looked out over the whole dining room.
What should we order?
Several weeks (and positive reviews) after its opening, we certainly had a couple of pointers on dishes to order. From our menu, if these are on you'll definitely want to order them
- The hand cut Black Angus beef with pickled truffles and anchovies (£10.50). This may be the best beef tartare we've ever had. And we have had a LOT. Incredibly tender beef with dots of anchovy cream.
- The spaghetti carbonara (£13). This comes with an embellishment of tableside serving, where the soft egg on top of the pasta is broken open and worked through the pasta in front of you. If our photo seems like a small serving, that's because we shared this between two of us
- The zucchine fritte (£4.50). "The best courgette chips in London" declared Jay Rayner in his review. We concur.
- The sfinge with citrus cream (£7.50). [Admission - chef Francesco's children used to go to the same primary school as my daughter and I'd had mini versions of this before, when he was persuaded to bring in desserts for the school fair cake stall. We knew this was going to be incredible and so it proved - the choux pastry breaking open to reveal light lemon cream inside]
We also had the real veal milanese - for two - (£22 per person) which we'd heard a lot about. It's a fun dish - also delivered whole tableside, before being cut into strips with lemon juice squeezed over it and served up with rocket and tomato salad. But, maybe because we'd had a lot of this in other restaurants recently, it didn't hit the heights of the other dishes we had here.
And to drink?
Sommelier Michael has been her for years (before that you might remember him from Plateau) and is a major asset to the restaurant, picking great wines by the glass for us for each course but steering clear of delivering epic speeches about each one, allowing them to do that job themselves. A glass of Fiano (£13) from Guido Marsella in Mazzei's homeland Campania was the best - smoky and minerally and just the job.
This was our first ever visit to Sartoria, so the difference in the design was lost on us, although we liked the feel of the room very much. But the food - well the food is something special. It feels here that Mazzei's cooking and the style of the restaurant are more simpatico than perhaps they were at L'anima.
One to book, for sure.
Prices were correct at the time of writing. Hot Dinners ate as guests of Sartoria
Sartoria is at 20 Savile Row, London W1S 3PR. Find out more about Sartoria.