Feb 14 2013

Locanda Locatelli

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I went to Locanda Locatelli located the Churchill Hyatt hotel close to Marble Arch in to celebrate Valentine’s day with my bfriend. I had been there once 5 years ago and I really enjoyed that time and as we rarely eat Italian, I thought this was a great place to go for a romantic dinner. Locanda Locatelli is run by Giorgio Locatelli and despite the fact he opened this restaurant 10 years ago, he is still physically present there and works there (and I know as I saw him speaking to a table next to us during our dinner), which is remarkable and in contrast to other chefs like Gordon Ramsey who are more seen on TV than in their restaurants. Giorgio Locatelli comes from a cooking dynasty from Northern Italy and he is considered one of the best chefs in the world. At Locanda Locatelli, Giorgio serves traditional Italian dishes, emphasising the quality and freshness of the produce as well as adding his own creative touch. Locanda Locatelli also now holds 1 Michelin star.

The interior in the restaurant is dark and suitable for romantic dinners which explains why the whole restaurant was full of couples at Valentine’s day (there was literally no table that had more than 2 people). As it was a special occasion there was no a la carte (which would have been cheaper) and instead Locanda Locatelli tried to cash in for Valentines day (which is what most restaurants do). You could either have 3 course for 85 (from 4 options – starters, pasta, main course and desert) or 4 courses for 95 (note an average of 4 courses on a normal day would cost you 70 so there was around 29% premium). Also on the menu it stated that you can’t take pictures of the food, which I ignored (did not use the flash though so did not attract that much attention) and so now I have nice pictures to show you and no one told me off. We both decided to go for 3 courses, and I was going to order a starter a pasta, a main course and my boyfriend would have desert instead of the starter as he has a sweet tooth.

The first thing that the waiters brought us were parmesan breadsticks which were made on the premises and had a lovely strong parmesan flavour, which I liked and I did think this made them much better than the average breadstick. Bread was ok/ nice (very similar to the bread basket I have had in L’Anima, another Italian restaurant), and what I really liked was a pizza type of bread. My starter followed “Artichoke salad, rocket, shallots and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese”, which was very nice and I thoroughly enjoyed. We had chosen 2 pasta dishes to share, the first one was “Linguine all'astice” which had linguine with lobster, tomato, garlic and chilli, as my friend David told me this linguine with lobster is much nicer than Scalini’s lobster spaghetti which is one of my favourite pasta dishes in London. Unfortunately I cant say I agree with David and although this linguine was nice, I could only taste a slight hint of chilli, I would have liked more, and they did not give you as much (or as juicy) lobster as Scalini did. The Scalini dish is just better by a mile. And the second pasta dish was ox tail ravioli (my boyfriend loves ox and we always have to have it every time it is on the menu), and these I thought were great. The pasta was tender, the inside of the pasta with the ox was also just tender and nice and it went well together with the broth. For my main course we chose to share “Fillet of wild sea bass baked in a salt and herb crust” as well as “Braised ox cheek with red wine, cocoa and seasonal vegetables” (see ox again). I usually love fish baked in a salt crust, but I was not crazy about this sea bass. It came in a crust and the waiters removed it in front of me and put the pieces of fish on some greens and added balsam vinegar to it (which I did not really like) and I did not think the fish had enough if the salt and herb flavour. Usually these crusts give brilliant flavour. My boyfriend thought the ox was good but nothing special, and whilst I thought it was tender I also did not think much of it. We were also allowed to chose some sides to go with our main course, “Black cabbage and cured pork belly”, “Roast potatoes”, “Fried artichokes” and lettuce leave salad. The lettuce leaves were just seasoned and some olive oil was poured over them, I really liked the roast potatoes that had rosemary added to it, and the black cabbage and cured pork belly was interesting but had a very strange and strong flavour to it. My boyfriend, the sweet maniac, chose the “white chocolate soup, passion fruit jelly and pistachio ice cream” as his desert and he was very intrigued about what he would get as white chocolate soup, and it was melted white chocolate with passion fruit jelly at the bottom of the plate. Interesting desert as I have not had anything like this before. We also got some standard but at the same time nice (especially the marshmallow) petite fours, and as it was Valentines day I also got a wonderful red rose from the waiters.

Whilst I had a very good meal in Locanda Locatelli, I was expecting a bit more, partly because of all the press Georgo Locatelli gets but more because I remember it to be absolutely amazing. Maybe it is because there are so many very good, creative and top Italian restaurants that have opened in London in the last 5 years since I last visited Locanda Locatelli, that in comparison it does not stand out that much. Nevertheless a very good quality Italian, still.

Date: 14/02/13
Location: Marble Arch
Price for 2 people with a bottle of wine and set menu and service charge: £265

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Maija rated: 

3.50

Location: 

Locanda Locatelli
8 Seymour Street W1H 7JZ
London
United Kingdom
GB
Locanda Locatelli Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3.5