There’s nothing like IT in London’s Mayfair
21 Feb 2020
Settled on Dover Street in a former art gallery, the restaurant and bar is as ornate as you’d expect – with a dramatic, curving staircase that allows for princess-like descending, cutlery that weighs more than a hair dryer but is thinner than biro, and plush seashell-like seats in shades of cream, teal, and soft mint. Naturally, there was a DJ playing the Balearic beats of Ibiza and the clientele featured nothing less than London’s most beautiful, swankiest cats – looking no less beautiful or swanky despite it being a school night. Next time I go, I’ll make sure to source some red bottom heels and not bring along my ex, who initially thought he was attending a celebration of Stephen King’s scary clown.
With the esteemed Gennaro Esposito as head Chef, I was expecting big things from IT. We started off with IT’s gourmet pizza, which I was told is a passed-down recipe once enjoyed by royalty. “If it’s good enough for a Princess, I’m sure it’s good enough for me,” I joked. What arrived were small, wonderfully thin and crispy slices – easy enough to eat in two swift and crunchy bites. The tomato and mozzarella pizza was stunning with its base, and instantly reminiscent of the Mediterranean. The white pizza, covered in cheese and dotted with yellow peppers and green chilli, was equally well balanced.
As it contained one of my favourite vegetables, the courgette, I was looking forward to the tartare di zucchine. Intermingled with a pleasantly creamy, pesto-like sauce, the soft tartare was given the textural contrast it needed with shards of almond. It seemed a shame to not let the vegetable itself take centre stage, however. A redeeming next course came in the form of the alici a beccafino, namely gratinated anchovies with an orange sauce, pine nuts and raisins. Three lovely little fish sitting pretty on a plate, lightly coated in a gratin with a little pool of sweet orange sauce in the middle. Ensure every single element is on your fork when you take a bite – this is of the utmost importance, as each flavour sings in balanced layers on your palate. Another delight was the granchio, carciofi e avocado. Being a King and all, this crab meant business. It was soft, sweet, and melted in the mouth, and then wonderfully cut through by the cold, crunchy artichoke it was served with. And, while I love my crabs hot and still in its shell, this one was done a fair bit of justice.
While IT’s kitchen had already proved it’s ability to craft an excellent tomato sauce with the pizza, this was further cemented by the ravioli capresi. Filled with ricotta, the pasta itself was not out of this world, but the sauce was everything – sharp and warming at the same time. And of course, the fresh basil atop each raviolo droplet was a welcome addition.
The star of the meal, for me, was the carrè di agnello alla brace, crema di tarallo, cime di rapa e salsa di aglio dolce. What’s that, I hear you say? Well it’s bloody rack of lamb. I think, as my peers begin to drop out meat from their lives, I feel inclined to eat more of it. This lamb was beautifully done, with a slight pinkness and a charcoal searing on the outside. As much as the meat shone, the turnip greens and garlic sauce (heaven) didn’t go unnoticed either. It was a full and generous meat dish – the latter adjective quite a rarity in fine dining.
A perfect follow-up to this celebration of Mediterranean and Southern Italian flavours was a dessert devoted to the simple perfection of olive oil. The morbido alle noci, lime e gelato all’olio di oliva (walnut biscotti, lime, olive oil ice cream) teemed with the flavour of rich, high quality olive oil – from the ice cream accompaniment to the creamy dollops atop the delicate cake itself.
Looking to seduce your ex? Take them to IT Mayfair. Then wine and dine them and watch them be putty in your hands. Ok – this was just my experience. But, if you’re looking to topple someone over with fanciness, IT is your place. However – please note that, sadly, there are no scary clowns to sweeten the deal.