Al Mare, the flagship restaurant at The Carlton Tower Jumeirah, Knightsbridge, is much more than a standard hotel eatery. At the helm is Italian-born chef Marco Calenzo, previously executive chef at Zuma, he has worked in a clutch of Michelin-starred kitchens across the world. Calenzo’s passion lies in working with the best of his home country’s produce, meaning ingredients from Italy are imported to create disheh full of rich flavours.
Al Mare serves breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout the week. Kick off with crudo (from the raw fish bar) and antipasti to whet the appetite, with examples being spicy bluefin tuna tartare and saffron arancini, cheese tortellini in beef consomme and beef carpaccio. Main dishes are divided into pasta, fish and meat, from black truffle rigatoni to sea salt crusted wild sea bass and veal with parmesan and tomato. While desserts are polished modern interpretations of classics. Knowledgeable staff lead guests through the menu, advising on the traditional combination of starting with raw seafood, followed by antipasti, pasta, meat or fish before finishing off with a sweet.
The drinks menu offers a wide choice, including Italian aperitifs and digestifs, which are served tableside from an aperitivo trolley, along with wines, spirits and cocktails (with an Al Mare twist). There's also a mocktail line-up that's been curated to ensure abstainers are catered for just as carefully as their drinking counterparts.
The newly refurbished interiors have been headed up by 150 London, honed to create a relaxed, luxurious atmosphere. The central marble bar takes the starring role, while blue, white and amber tones throughout the rest of the space create a warm, holiday-inspired ambiance. At the heart of the dining room there’s a theatre kitchen which allows you to watch fresh pasta being made. The venue also houses a private dining space.