Mayfair’s restaurant scene is largely split between two distinct camps, namely that of flashy joints which double up as bars and court the young Instagram-loving crowd, and those that speak to the Mayfair of old, serving traditional food in elegant and refined settings.
Italian restaurant Sartoria, part of D&D London and headed up by chef Francesco Mazzei, falls into the latter camp. As befits the Savile Row location, Sartoria is home to a stylish bar by the entrance, which leads through to the stately dining room, where you can expect a mix of honeycomb columns and white tablecloths which give the room a sense of grandeur, while curved banquette seating and vibrant floral arrangements stop things from feeling too stuffy.
Mazzei’s “amazing Italian food” sees the menu divided up traditionally into antipasti, primi, secondi and contorni. He’s not afraid of simplicity, as shown in starters such as mounds of sweet brown and white crab presented alongside pickled radish and green apple, or a plate of seasonal vegetables with puréed pulses. However, like his well-dressed clientele, Mazzei isn’t averse to luxury either: witness the likes of Grana Padano risotto with saffron and pigeon, or tagliolini with Scottish lobster.
The spaghetti carbonara is always the star of the show for us, arriving at the table hidden underneath an avalanche of black truffle shavings. Push these aside to reveal a glossy egg yolk in the centre, leaking along the thick strands of spaghetti. Creamy, rich and comforting, this is the sort of truly sensational pasta dish that we could see ourselves returning for again and again.
Main courses are also worthy of top billing – we loved the home-cured black cod with its lingering liquorice taste and we also liked the look of roasted pork belly with n’duja and honey.
High prices and a mature crowd may not be appealing to younger Mayfair diners (none of the customers on our visit looked under 40) but Sartoria does have an ace up its sleeve with its sumptuous Libare Bar. A perfect spot for date-night drinks, Libare doles out the Italian classics like Bellinis, Negronis and Spritzes. If that’s not enough to tempt you, the intimate street-side terrace is a great spot for people watching.