Zafferano was one of the first serious Italian restaurants in London, opening in 1995 and gaining a Michelin star in 1999 under Giorgio Locatelli. It retained the star until 2012 under Andy Needham. Both chefs have since gone on to open their own restaurants, the former chef running the eponymous Locanda Locatelli in Marylebone and the latter cooking at L’Amorosa in Ravenscourt Park. The head chef here for the last six years has been Daniele Camera, who was previously head chef of the now defunct Alloro, which used to be part of the same restaurant group. There was an a la carte menu, as well as a three-course set lunch priced at £32.50.
There were a few nibbles of bread, Parmesan and excellent culatello ham. The first dish was beef carpaccio, the beef being from Scotland, topped with shavings of white truffle from Alba. This was a simple but enjoyable dish, the meat having good flavour (14/20). Ravioli of osso buco is a dish that the restaurant has been serving since the Locatelli days. It has stayed on the menu that long for a good reason, the pasta excellent and the filling of veal shank cooked in white wine having plenty of flavour (15/20). This was followed by a glass filled with consommé, in the centre of which were parcels of cappelletti pasta stuffed with pheasant. The consommé was clean and well made, the meat adding depth to the dish (15/20).
My saffron risotto main course was lovely, the rice having beautifully absorbed the rich chicken stock, the saffron adding colour, the seasoning spot on and the texture excellent (easily 15/20). We finished with zabaglione, or to be precise two different versions of zabaglione, a traditional one made with marsala and the other with Vin Santo wine. The custard was light and airy, not too sweet, and was still warm from the kitchen. Both versions were very good renditions of zabaglione, the one using Vin Santo a touch lighter than the traditional version (15/20). Coffee was from Union in east London.
Service was slick, led by the suave Giuseppe Bellino, who has worked here for fourteen years and counting. The bill came to a fraction less than £100 per person, with plenty of wine to drink. This was a very enjoyable meal, and reminded me of the restaurant in its glory days. The standard of Italian food in London is distinctly variable, but this meal was classy.Book