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Apr 18, 2013 04:25 PM

London - Fab dining experience at Locanda Locatelli

Fabulous dinner experience this evening at Locanda Locatelli - it's one of those occasions where each and every dish tasted *exactly* the way I desired them to be:

- Insalata di caprino, barbabietole e Cabernet Sauvignon (Goats' cheese and beetroot salad with Cabernet Sauvignon dressing) - loved beetroot, and the ones here were as good as (if not better than) those I had at Alice Waters' Chez Panisse all those years ago.

- Fagottini di borragine, ricotta e salsa di noce (Homemade egg-free parcels with borage, ricotta and walnut sauce) - gorgeous textures and flavours: one of those dishes where you kept wanting to go back for more. Utterly delicious.

- Maialino arrosto, puré di patate e mele caramellate (Slow-cooked suckling pig, mashed potato and caramelised Granny Smith apple) - now *this* is one dish which can earn a restaurant a Michelin-star by itself - it's indescribably perfect in every way - the best pork dish I'd ever had, ever: fine-textured meat, bursting with flavours, encased in the lightest, crispiest skin, served on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes. The Granny Smith slices were superfluous here, but their tartness served to undercut the richness of the pork and butter-infused mash.

- Tiramisù: here again, I encountered the *perfect* rendition of this ubiquitous dessert - creamy-rich from the mascarpone, assertive coffee flavours, and that strong spirit-like punch from the Marsala. It was simply divine.

Coffee came with the best almond cookies I could have wished for: crispy and crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside; delicious dark chocolate truffles, and soft fruit jelly.

Smart, sophisticated dining space and great service complemented the superb cooking to provide a truly memorable dining experience.

Address details
Locanda Locatelli
8 Seymour St
London W1H 7JZ
Tel: +44 20 7935 9088

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    1. You simply *have* to check this place out, zuriga1, rather than that Bocca di Lupo (over-rated, over-priced).

      14 Replies
      1. re: klyeoh

        Bocca is Sunday and I doubt Locatelli will have a table instead, but I promise we'll get there. I should have chosen more wisely but glad you got there.

        1. re: zuriga1

          I'd absolutely no idea what to expect, realistically, before I went to both places - though reviews on both I'd read were good.

          It's quite interesting how different the two places turned out: one was a dud, the other was every bit as I'd imagined it to be!

          1. re: klyeoh

            The reviews of Locatelli have been mixed over the years. I had a meal there many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed my food (most of it, anyhow, if I can recall), but found the room uninspired, the tables a bit close together for a 'fine dining room' and the service either blahzay (our server) or kind of overbearing (the sommelier).

            I believe they're redone the room since my last visit so am glad it is an improvement.

            Made in Italy (Giorgio Locatelli's cook book) is one of my favorites, both the recipes and the stories. It pains me to feign familiarisation with a stranger, but Locatelli seems like such a nice guy and I was genuinely gutted when I wasn't 100% keen on his restaurant.

            On a side note, I loved Bocca Di Lupo but that was when it first opened a few years ago, and on our visit Jacob Kennedy was in the kitchen plating and cooking himself. He may be less present now that it's a success.

            1. re: brokentelephone

              What surprised me about Bocca Di Lupo was that, in the case of diners sitting on either side of me, some of their food were left partially finished. The waiter did not ask the diners if something was wrong with those dishes.

              1. re: klyeoh

                Good news, klyeoh. We are now booked for Locatelli on Sunday. I'll try Bocca some other time, when the meal isn't for an occasion. I'll let you know what we thought.

                1. re: zuriga1

                  Great! Hope you enjoy Locanda Locatelli as much as I did, zuriga1. Look forward to catching up with you next month when I'm back in town.

              2. re: brokentelephone

                I am one of those who would be "mixed" about the Locanda.

                No, wait a minute, I wouldnt be "mixed" at all.

                We had a poor experience there. Hated the room for reasons as posted by brokentelephhone. Thought the service was shite (the style being "we are doing you a favour letting you eat here") and the food was not at all up to the high expectations we had of it.

                I am pleased if things have changed but I'll stick to my prejudices, thanks very much.

                1. re: Harters

                  You *have* to make a return visit here, Harters. The service here was top-notch and oh-so-friendly. Maybe they'd learnt from past mistakes and feedback.

                  1. re: klyeoh

                    My partner & I were chatting on the train home this morning. She reckons there may be something about London high end service that you don't really see elsewhere in the country.

                    We had this off-hand attitude last night at Galvin La Chapelle ( see review). We've had it at the Locanda and we've had it at Hibiscus last time we were there (and not the previous time when it had just moved to London, and not in Ludlow). I think she may have a point.

                    1. re: Harters

                      I would hope there are restaurants that are halfway between the overly friendly American style of serving that one sometimes encounters ... Hi, I'm June and I'm your server tonight... and the off-hand attitude you've found in some London spots. I'll let you know what we thought of the service after I've been to Locanda. So far, I have never encountered bad service in London, but maybe we go to the wrong places. :-)

                      1. re: zuriga1

                        I went to Locanda just after it had opened and they were so up themselves, it put a downer on the night.
                        However I've had really good , relaxed and efficient service in London particularly Roganic and St. John and believe it or not Petrus. I think it really does depend on the vibe of the place and being lucky with who serves you.

                        1. re: Paprikaboy

                          I am not, definitely, addressing you Paprikaboy, but I think a lot of how one is treated in restaurants has to do with certain factors.. whether that is right or wrong is not something I'm talking about. Age, what one is wearing and some other things definitely affect how some staff treat a customer.

                      2. re: Harters

                        You do realize you're the common denominator? Perhaps once you pass the M25 you turn into a brute, and your partner is afraid to tell you?

                        Probably not though, you seem very pleasant!

                        1. re: brokentelephone

                          No, I'm as much a nit-picker and all-round unpleasant shit, whether I'm in London or the north west.