Quattro Passi London

34 Dover Street, London, W1S 4NG, United Kingdom

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This is the London branch of the Amalfi Coast restaurant Quattro Passi, which currently holds two Michelin stars. The London branch opened in February 2014, and is a large venue able to seat 100 customers at the same time in its L shaped dining room. A private member’s club is located in the basement. Executive chef Antonio Mellino is overseeing the kitchen and has actually moved to London with his family. He plans to return to his restaurant in Italy during the summer, leaving in charge Alessandro Tomolino, who recently worked at Locanda Locatelli but in the past worked with Mr Mellino in Italy.

The wine list had over 400 labels, primarily Italian but with coverage of the top French regions as well as a smattering of other wines. The list was ambitiously priced, the cheapest wine £50, and with a high proportion of the list over £100. Examples included Hawks Crest Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 at £55 for a wine that you can find in the high street for £13, Jermann Vintage Tunina 2011 at £85 for a wine that retails at £34, and Massolino Vigna Rionda 2006 at £135 for a wine that will set you back around £71 in a shop. Ornellaia 1996 was £450 compared to a retail price of £138, and Aldo Canterno Gran Bussia 2005 Barolo was £440 for a wine that costs £259 retail. Food prices were firmly in the upper end of Mayfair territory, with antipasta dishes £18-£40, intermediate courses £16 - £42, main courses £28 - £50 and desserts £18 - £22. There was a six course tasting menu at £125. Ingredients are shipped over from Italy three times a week.

Bread was made from scratch in the kitchen rather than being bought in, with a selection of rolls, flatbreads and grissini. Some flatbread had slightly odd texture but the grissini and rolls were pleasant; nicest was a warm white bread with a filling of tomato and basil (15/20). 

The meal began with a tartare of Fassone beef with artichoke, a little Parmesan and olive oil. This was very pleasant though a touch bland in flavour compared to a traditional tartare; some bolder seasoning would have helped; the beef itself was very good (15/20).

This was followed by a salad of artichoke, prawns and cuttlefish, wiith olive oil, a grapefruit dressing and a garnish of twisted flatbread. This was excellent, the cuttlefish tender, the prawn sweet and the dressing having a little acidity to balance the dish (16/20). Pumpkin soup had at its centre a trio of large Sicilian prawns. These were lovely, sweet and very tender, served with little amaretti and a garnish of squid ink grissini (16/20). 

Linguine with crab and green apple featured slightly al dente pasta with very good texture, the crab and apple nicely balanced (16/20). This was followed by linguine with courgette, Parmesan and herbs, the pasta very good and the courgette having quite good flavour despite the time of year (16/20). A final pasta dish was an unusual one: a mix of traditional Campagne pastas with peas, black truffle and a little chilli. The spicy hit was welcome and lifted a dish that might otherwise have been a little bland (16/20).

Sarago is a white fish found in the Mediterranean, served here with squid, courgette sauce and tomato powder. The fish itself had good flavour, though the squid was not the most tender I have eaten (15/20). The final savoury course was a lamb cutlet coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried, served with mange tout, green beans and carrots. This was a rich, hearty dish, the vegetables rather unexceptional in flavour (15/20).

Pre-dessert was a selection of sorbets: lemon, orange, mixed herb and strawberry. I am hazy as to where the strawberries came from in February, but the lemons were definitely from Amalfi, and this sorbet had superb flavour due to the high quality lemon (16/20). A tiramisu with a little chocolate sauce was superb, with deep coffee flavour, rich and delicious (18/20). Double espresso was made from a blend of Arabica and robusta coffee. Service was excellent, friendly and attentive. Overall the food here was good, the cooking careful and using some unusual ingredients, albeit at a high price point. A key question will be whether the restaurant can maintain the standard all the year round, particularly during the time when Mr Mellino is based in Italy.

Further reviews: 11th Mar 2014

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