Glitzy Babbo is owned by Chelsea players David Luiz and Willian Borges and not only are the pair often to be seen glad-handing in the neutral-hued dining room but Babbo’s dark-wood tables and creamy leather chairs are a favourite haunt of their Premier League colleagues – pick the right night and dinner here can look like a Panini football album come to life.
Still, there’s enough to hold your attention even if you don’t follow the beautiful game. The menu features more crowd-pleasers than Italy playing at home at the Juventus Stadium – beef carpaccio, aubergine parmigiana, salt-baked sea bass, grilled T-bone steak – and while there’s the odd bit of ostentation such as angel-hair pasta served with Imperial Caviar, it’s mostly classic combinations of good-quality ingredients, simply served.
To start, crab and cod croquettes with spicy mayonnaise, and king prawn tempura and calamari with basil mayonnaise, both balanced fresh flavours with fried comfort. Follow with a well-sauced homemade pasta such as pappardelle with minced veal and veal jus, or veal Milanese with saffron risotto that isn’t served in a portion so big that you won’t have space for the signature tiramisu, a cream-filled chocolate ball that melts when coffee is poured on top.
To drink, there are big Italian names on the wine list, while Italian-accented cocktails fit the bill when there’s music pumping from the DJ booth. Weekend brunch featuring lots of eggs, cheese and pasta adds to the fun, while a three-course lunch for £29.95 makes Babbo affordable if your salary is more Third Division than Premier League.