Recently we attended a private dinner at the newly opened Frescobaldi restaurant. The Frescobaldi family, one of Italy’s oldest and most respected wine dynasties, has opened its first standalone restaurant and wine bar in the UK.
The project is also the first joint venture between the Frescobaldis and Good Food Society, a new hospitality venture promoted by Levent Büyükuğur and entrepreneur Sanjay Nandi. Nestled in Mayfair, Frescobaldi follows in the successful footsteps of restaurants and wine bars in Florence and in Rome.
We started with a plate of vibrant tuna carpaccio, served with avocado and satsuma, before moving onto the very tasty and rich veal cheek pappardelle accompanied by delicious rosemary bread and truffle oil. We finished the meal with a delightful plate of Tiramisu with a smooth dollop of vanilla and coffee ice cream. We thoroughly enjoyed the meal and our surroundings.
Frescobaldi restaurants are acclaimed for their exquisite food and wine pairings and exceptional atmosphere, and the new opening is no exception. The London restaurant is presided over by the supremely talented young chef Roberto Reatini, formerly of Zafferano. Prior to this, he was senior sous chef at Shoreditch House, working alongside head chef Michele Nargi. Reatini has created a stunning new menu for Frescobaldi in which he offers his own take on classic Tuscan dishes.
His hors d’oeuvres menu features delicacies like red prawn carpaccio with green apple & caviar. First course choices include such standouts as veal cheek pappardelle with rosemary bread and maltagliati pasta & cannellini beans, whilst mains include vegetables & olives ossobuco. Desserts are equally as inspiring, including the mouth-watering mille-feuille with caramelised apricots.
Key to the offering is an extensive array of wines produced by Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi, a company whose extraordinary legacy encompasses nine estates (predominantly in the hills around Florence and Siena), distribution in 65 countries and countless awards. Legendary names from the winery, from Mormoreto, a single-vineyard cru of Castello di Nipozzano, through to the flagship Frescobaldi cuvée, Brunello di Montalcino Castelgiocondo Riserva, take pride of place on the menu.
Also available is a comprehensive selection of wines from other leading producers. The Frescobaldi heritage is very much in evidence throughout the restaurant’s interiors. Designers Autoban have taken the family’s unique history as their starting point, but interpreted it in a contemporary way. The atmosphere they have created is akin to that of a private Italian dining room, imbued with a sense of warmth and hospitality.
There are hints of Italian culinary culture everywhere, from the ceramic tiles and wooden panels to the hand-painted drawings and framed pictures that adorn the walls. The comfortable furniture meanwhile will encourage long, leisurely meals. The entire front of the building is made up of glass windows that can be fully opened, flooding the restaurant with natural light on warmer days.
The Frescobaldi family’s involvement in wine dates back to 1308. During the Renaissance, they traded wine for works of art with Michelangelo and were the major financiers to the kings of England, with Henry VIII personally signing their receipts. Holy Roman Emperor Maximillian I even recommended the Frescobaldis to the Pope Leone X. 30 generations later and the Frescobaldi name continues to thrive and evolve. The family is now associated with one of the world’s finest olive oils, Laudemio, produced from olives harvested and pressed on the same day to guarantee maximum freshness.
In 1999 the Frescobaldis launched their restaurant division. Their aim was to offer guests a contemporary and relaxed place in which to enjoy the warmth of the traditional Tuscany, where wine would reign, but always in the company of outstanding food. The opening of Frescobaldi in the heart of London will ensure that this exceptional philosophy reaches an even wider audience.
Ristorante Frescobaldi (15 New Burlington Place, Mayfair, London, W1S 2HX)