Nov 7 2013

Il Ristorante at the Bulgari Hotel

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The beautiful Bulgari hotel opened this year in Knightsbridge. There are many Bulgari hotels around the world and most of them feature a restaurant called “Il Ristaurante”. I visited London’s Bulgari hotel Il Ristaurante with my friend Paul.

Bulgari hotel, like you would expect has a very rich and expensive feel to it and is supposed to evoke “all the glamour of the Dolce Vita era”. The bar on the ground floor is opulent and glamorous (I have had a drink there on a few occassions), and one floor down, sort of in the basement, the restaurant is located. The main feature of the restaurant is a sort of tree in the middle of the room on a table and from it beautiful white flowers are hanging down. It looks very sleek and beautiful. Tables are sort of positioned around this tree. The furniture and Bulgari cutlery as well as many other things are Italian, showing Italian style.

The main chef at Il Ristaurante is Robbie Pepin, who is part British and part Italian, and has worked in many different restaurants in Italy and UK and who at Il Ristairante uses sustainably sourced fresh and seasonal produce. I did very much like many dishes on the menu, they were classical great Italian dishes, very sophisticated. The thing that attracted my attention the most was that they even had two types of pizzas there, showing a more casual side to the restaurant. There were many dishes that Paul and I wanted to have so we decided to order some dishes and share. The waiter also came and showed us the white truffle which was in season and he said they could add it to many dishes that were on the menu, and Paul and I decided to chose a dish with the white truffle as well and share it.

Paul and I decided to get a salad, a pasta with the white truffle that the waiter just showed us as well as two main course and then just share everything. The dishes are not cheap though, starters range from £10 to £24 and main courses from £23 to £38. We ordered a salad called “Insalata di gamberoni, bottarga, calamari, polpo di scoglio e coste di lattuga romana” which in English would be Quick-sautéed gamberoni, bottarga, squid and octopus and Romaine lettuce. I very much enjoyed it, the prawns and octopus felt extremely fresh and tasty, and just were meaty, good seafood, you could definitely feel the quality of ingredients going into this salad. After the salad we ordered “Tagliolini al tartufo bianco” or Homemade tagliolini with white truffle. The homemade taglioni felt delicious, they did feel soft and delicious and homemade, great pasta, and they had not been stingy and did give you a lot of white truffle, and even though this dish cost £39, I have paid more for white truffle and got less.

After the salad and the pasta, we moved on to the main courses and ordered “Ravioli di ossobuco, carciofi e parmigiano” or Ossobuco ravioli, artichoke and parmesan as well as “Branzino selvatico, olive Taggiasche, minestrone, condimento al basilico” or Wild sea bass, Taggiasca olives, minestrone vegetables and basil. I also ordered a side salad of green beans, which were nicely prepared, still crunchy. I absolutely loved the ossobuco ravioli, I thought the flavor was so intense and good and just insanely delicious. Paul thought they were a bit dry, and I can see why he thought the ossobuco within the ravioli was towards the dry side, but it personally did not stop me loving the dish. I was less impressed with the sea bass, as the flavour was not as intense, but it was a well-cooked fish.

Paul also wanted to get some desert and he ordered “Napoletana”, pistacchio e lamponi” or Il Ristaurante’s Neapolitan, pistachio and raspberry and “Baba al limoncello” or Limoncello baba. Paul seemed to know his deserts (and Italian food in general) and he kept comparing this to how Italian food should be in Italy. I have to say I had not tried either of these deserts before and really enjoyed both. The sponge cake in the Limoncello baba was delicious and soft and went so well with the Limoncello crème, sort of simple but such a good desert. And the Napoletana pistachio and raspberry cake was equally good and full of flavour.

The service was good throughout our stay at Il Ristaurante, but something funny happened when I left. The next morning I had a voicemail, left at 12am at night from the Il Ristaurante restaurant saying they had given me the wrong bill of £155.25 when the actual bill that I had to pay was £281.25. They said they had charged my card for the remaining £126 (so 281.25 – 155.25 = £126). I was furious as I don’t think it is ok to charge someone’s card without their consent. Fair enough I did owe them the amount, and I also had not checked the bill when I left, but I just think you can’t charge someone’s card like this. The next day I did speak to the manager who apologized and returned the £126 pounds, which meant I paid less than I should have and invited me to the restaurant again so I could come and he could personally take care of me. All this I thought was a lovely gesture in the end.

Il Ristaurante is not cheap, but the food is good. They do use very high quality ingredients and the dishites are tasty and well executed. However there is something the restaurant lacks and I can’t really explain what it is that just does not let me give it a higher restaurant. The atmosphere is a bit too quiet and too formal for me and it just feels a bit too sterile for my liking as a place to have dinner, but there is nothing wrong with the dishes, which as I said will be good but will cost a lot.

Date: 07/ 11/ 13
Location: Knightsbridge
Price for 2 people with alcohol: £155.25 (but the actual bill was £281.25

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Maija rated: 

3.50

Location: 

Il Ristorante at the Bulgari Hotel
171 Knightsbridge UK SW1X
London
United Kingdom
GB
Il Ristorante at the Bulgari Hotel Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3.5