The name Frescobaldi is easily associated with… a few things actually: wine, of course, nobility, Tuscany, heritage. They have very recently opened a restaurant in London, where their wines (as well as other Italian labels) are paired to modern Italian fare by head Chef Roberto Reatini (formerly of Zafferano).
Right in the heart of London elegant Mayfair, the venue is a bright (even in a wintry evening), beautifully decorated dining room with plenty of wine glasses and wine accessories fully integrated in the interior design; a wine cellar is positioned to the right of the entrance, showcasing some of the family’s best known labels. Downstairs, a welcoming, cosy area, part homely lounge (books on shelves, wine bottles, family photos) and part drinking section with a nice bar.
I was invited to Frescobaldi during the opening week, not only to visit the restaurant itself but to sample Reatini’s food and the Frescobaldi’s wines. We enjoyed an aperitif and a nibble of parmesan downstairs, then made our way to the dining area.
“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.”
|The downstairs bar|
“Reatini has created a stunning new menu for Frescobaldi in which he offers his own take on classic Tuscan dishes.”
The menu was introduced by the chef and the manager: I thought it was perhaps not representative of which, in my mind, is Tuscan cuisine, yet every dish was nevertheless expertly prepared and very good, steering away from anything too stereotypical or traditional. Our starter was a Beetroot salad with watercress and pistachio, which looked bright and colourful on the plate and was dressed table-side with the family’s own extra virgin olive oil label, Laudemio. Teseo, the restaurant sommelier, introduced the paired white, a Pomino Bianco 2013 which I found light, crips, mineral and very good.
A large portion of Linguine with Lobster and Chili followed. I could not detect any particular chili flavour and I’d have liked a bit more lobster versus tomato ratio. The pasta (from Gragnano) was spot on on the cooking and the dish was indeed very enjoyable. This was paired with an Attems Ramato 2013.
Finally the dessert, a delicious, not too sweet cake with walnuts and apple served with a delicate cinnamon ice cream. Absolutely loved the cake but felt it might have been ideal for an afternoon cup of tea, rather than as an after dinner pudding. This was paired with my favourite wine of the evening, a Vin Santo Naturale 2011.
After dinner, our fresh mint tea was served in cute glass teapots, accompanied by mini cantuccini and amaretti.
I enjoyed the meal at Frescobaldi. In my view, Frescobaldi would be perfect for a business lunch or an intimate meal with friends or family. They have put a lot of care into the venue as well as into the wine selection, as expected, and the menu. Some of the dining room walls are white tiled and decorated by stunning art work, my favourite one being Dante (and who could be more representative of Tuscany that our Alighieri?).
While the prices are a little steep, it seems that Frescobaldi’s offering is very much in line with the location: starters from £9, pasta and mains from £15. Many wines are available by the glass, by the carafe and of course, bottle while there is also the option to select different ‘wine flights’ to sample more than one type of grape.
15 New Burlington Place