IT London in Mayfair: A glamorous Italian gourmet journey
Italian cuisine, outside the borders of the sunny country, can get very bad, very easily — or it can be extremely good. IT London comes into the second category.
From Naples with love, Michelin-starred chef Gennaro Esposito supervises the operation of the small group restaurants, which, at the end of 2019, inaugurated their most recent venue, this time in the UK. IT London is led by executive chef Adriano Rausa, and its reopening after the forced break brings an exciting new menu. The traditional offerings are there – pasta and pizza for sure – but creatively interpreted in a contemporary key for a fine-dining experience that does not sacrifice full flavours. It delivers what it promises and more, leaving that extra Mayfair shimmer on its guests’ memories.
From business lunches – with a new dedicated set menu – to late bites at the bar, there’s space for every occasion. In the background, not to be forgotten, there is live music played by international DJs, bringing vibrancy to the evening without overwhelming the atmosphere. The counter of the kitchen opens into the first room, with bright lights and theatre in an otherwise dimly lit space.
The early curfew measures take effect on the day of our visit, but by the time we arrive there is already a pleasant buzz. First to arrive at the centre of our table is a small basket of bread, freshly baked in-house and including grissini, sourdough and focaccia. Together with a glass of prosecco, we begin with one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, a starter in our case: the Marinara Pizza. With a thin crust, it’s crunchy and generously covered in an intense tomato sauce. The zero-yeast dough is made with 90% water, which results in incredible lightness. No matter that there is more to come, the plate returns to the kitchen clean. The pizza is swiftly followed by a playfully contrasting Courgette Tartare, which is gracefully presented and accompanied with an almond sauce. The Marinated and Smoked Yellowtail is an ode to the blessed matching of the sea and tangy flavours. Too quick to disappear, each bite tickles the tongue; the fish is cooked perfectly, soothed with a tarallo cream.
A triumph of shellfish and fettucini is next: langoustine, prawns and friggitelli peppers are tossed with the pasta, along with simple oil and lemon that allow the dish to keep the freshness of the ingredients. The soft texture of the combination leads nicely to the Mediterranean Sea Bass en Papillote that follows. The dish brings gently contrasting notes and colours that astound, the citrus element in the sauce this time tempered with aubergine and tomato.
A glass of Curtefranca DOC, Chardonnay Ca’ del Bosco 2014 pairs perfectly with our meal from the sea: a round wine, complex on the palate, which lingers long enough. The warm but sleek service further enhances the evening.
Two desserts, opposites but equally mouthwatering, bring our dinner to a close. The Mille-Feuille with Kefir Ice Cream and Sour Cherry is delicate, the sheer crispy layers meeting the plush of the cream with the tang of the fruit. For richness, Lemon Delight is the grand finale: an interior sponge cake soaked in limoncello is rolled in a balanced lemon cream, finished with some hazelnut meringue. If it’s true there’s always room for dessert, this one fits seamlessly and with merit.
Every gourmet journey should begin with an apt introduction. For us, it is the sumptuous golden placeholder bearing the IT logo alongside the fragrant bread basket. The two elements seem incongruous, but are actually are emblematic of the restaurant’s soul: glamour and flavours with character.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Virginie Viche
To book a table at IT London, 28-29 Dover St Mayfair London W1S 4LX, call 020 3887 4360 or visit their website here.