50 Marylebone High Street, London, England, W1U 5HN, United Kingdom

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What follows are notes from a meal in March 2012.

Nibbles consisted of a surprisingly good miniature salad of barley, potato and broccoli with marinated artichoke, the latter delicate and a good balance for the barley. On the side were small tastes of several high quality Italian hams (15/20). Bread was made from scratch in the kitchen, and although the quality varied a little I particularly liked a simple white bread that is a speciality from the Emilia Romagna region (bread 15/20 on average). 

Pennoni, a larger version of the more familiar penne tubular pasta, came with vegetable caponata and Caciocavallo (curd) cheese. The vegetables, a mix of tomatoes, courgettes, onion, green peppers and aubergine, were carefully cooked, and the pasta had very good texture (comfortably 15/20).  Also very good was spinach flan with cheese sauce and a few pieces of thin garlic bruschetta. The flan was light and delicate, the cheese lifting the flavour and the bruschetta crisps providing texture balance (16/20).

Sea bream fillet was of good quality, was carefully cooked and served with broccoli, resting in a jus of garlic and shellfish. The sauce had lovely depth of flavour, but the broccoli was overcooked, which was a shame (still 15/20, and I would have scored this higher other than for the broccoli).  Cacciatore (hunter style) ragu had a mixed meat ragu wrapped in a crisp pasta coating, alongside a béchamel sauce with Parmesan. The ragu was rich, the sauce going well with it, and the crisp container of pasta added an extra texture to the dish (16/20).  A simple side salad featured top class salad leaves (16/20).  

Rum baba was served with honey cream and candied ginger, but was not quite moist enough, though the honey cream was good (14/20). Better was a classic tiramisu, which had plenty of coffee flavour (16/20).  Petit fours were classy. A tuile was very delicate, while a chocolate shell with orange centre, a bitter chocolate, a sweet biscuit and a lemon sponge were all lovely (17/20). 

Service was friendly, and although this was only the second week after opening the topping up of water and wine was deftly handled, and dishes arrived at a steady pace. The bill came to £82 a head.  Interestingly, virtually every diner on the evening of our visit appeared to be Italian, and the dining room was nearly full on a Tuesday night, so word seems to have spread quickly. Although there were some rough edges, as is to be expected so early in the life of this restaurant, the evident effort involved shone through in several of the dishes. I have scored this 15/20 for now given the slight unevenness, but this has the potential to increase. This kitchen is already producing some of the most authentic Italian food in London.

Further reviews: 12th Oct 2013 | 28th Aug 2012

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