Feb 14 2014

Quattro Passi


Quattro Passi is a special Italian restaurant. It is a sister restaurant to the Amalfi Coast (south west part of Italy) restaurant (also called Quattro Passi) which has 2 Michelin stars, and is run by Antonio Mellino, who has actually now re-located to London to run the London Quattro Passi. The restaurant is not cheap but it is because Antonio insists on flying many ingredients over from Amalfi (when I was there Antonio’s son Raffaele was telling me how Antonio recently flew some fish from Amalfi on a BA flight to Gatwick). When you sort of put into perspective the sort of ingredients you get in Quattro Pasi, which you can’t get anywhere else in London, you can justify the price they charge. Antonio works with his sons Raffaele and Fabrizio in the London restaurant. I met both sons and they are lovely. Antonio will be in the London Quattro Passi restaurant until the summer, when he goes back to Italy and leaves the restaurant in the capable hands of Alessandro Tomolino, who has worked with Antonio before in Italy.

I came to Quattro Pasi before it had formally opened (the restaurant is now open, so you can go there as well) with my most wonderful friend Paul who knows Antonio and Raffaele and has visited them many times before in their Amalfi coast Quattro Passi restaurant. Because the restaurant was not yet open, it was empty, and only a few other tables were occupied, which meant you could really notice the beautiful décor. The white leather chairs are comfortable, the walls ate interesting with sort of sparkling things, there are mirrors and flowers around the room, it is just more interesting than your average Italian high end restaurant. The restaurant is big and seats 100 people but because of the L shape it does not feel that big and feels intimate. There is also a private member’s club is located in the basement, which I saw during the day and which looked very stylish.

The menu began with the most wonderful bread. Bread is one thing I sort of think restaurants, even the good ones, do in a quite a similar way, but Quattro Passi truly excelled here. Bread was made from scratch in the kitchen and there was a huge selection given to us in a nice looking bread stand. I very much liked the thin bread crackers that had super thin slices of vegetables like zucchini and carrots baked into them, which looked beautiful, although Raffaele did say it took them a long time to make these as they had to cut the vegetables perfectly, very thin, and then nicely bake them into the bread, but I think it was worth it, delicious, and beautiful looking bread cracker. I also very much liked warm bread rolls that had a filling of tomato and basil and another one with cheese. The tomatoes for the bread roll had been transported from Italy and were sweet and I could so feel it did not taste like a tomato I have in UK. I could have these bread rolls every day.

Our meal started with an “Amuse of Cod fish puree with puttanesca sauce (tomatoes, black and white olives)”, which took me by surprise as it was strong, delicious tasting and I did not expect it from the plate. The next course was “Antipasto: Sea bass Carpaccio with honey, fresh salad of kiwi and pineapple and bread crumbles”. Fish was fresh, extremely delicious, flown to us from Italy. Our last seafood starter course was “Artichoke and cuttlefish salad with lemon and Mediterranean langoustine”, one of my favourite dishes of the whole meal. The artichokes were so delicious, I have no idea how they made them so nice and the langoustines were great quality, and the dish had a lovely dressing with acidity to balance the dish.

We now moved into the pasta courses and had two pasta courses, “Spaghettoni from Gragnano with crabs” and “Linguine alla Nerano with courgette and courgette flowers”. The pasta was cooked al dente. I don’t think I have had such al dente pasta before, but I did enjoy it and I have a more open mind towards al dente now. Paul loved the Linguine alla Nerano and he said he has this every time he visits Quattro Passi in Italy. I do have to agree it was superb, pasta heaven. I am usually less keen on non-meat pastas but this was the most delicious vegetarian sauce pasta I have ever had. I am still puzzled how they made the courgettes taste so amazing in this one. Spaghettoni from Gragnano with crabs was also excellent, it had a bit of chilli to spice things up and they gave you a lot of delicious crab.

After the pasta courses we moved on to the fish/ meat ones, and the first one in our tasting menu was “Ginger crusted Seabream filet with giardiniera style vegetables”. When I first saw it, I was a bit intrigued about putting the sea bream in a crust, as usually Italian restaurants don’t do it and just want to showcase the fish, but the crust was delicious, I loved it. And one of my favourite dishes of the meal was the next course, “Rack of Lamb with crusted hazelnut, baby carrots, provolone del Monaco and turnip fondue”. The lamb was perfect and pink in the middle and once again I absolutely loved the crust, it made the lamb taste amazing. This restaurant has really made me appreciate crusts with fish and meat in a whole new way.

I was absolutely full and happy when we came to desserts and we started with a pre-dessert of sorbet covered in chocolate with fruits, and then moved on to “Lemon delight served with fresh pepper mint sauce and mix herbs sorbet” and “Choccolate mousse with crème brulee interior served with red wild fruits sauce”.  The chocolate mousse was delicious, but as I am a savoury dessert lover I preferred the lemon delight. But what I liked most was that on paper these deserts looked quite simple but the taste of them was unexpected, much nicer than you would first think.

I did not have a look at the wine list myself, but Paul was very impressed and it has over 400 labels and some very unusual wines. Prices at this restaurant are not cheap, a six course tasting menu costs £125 and antipasta dishes £18-£40, intermediate courses £16 - £42, main courses £28 - £50 and desserts £18 - £22, but when you understand the length this restaurant goes to, to bring you the best ingredients from one of the best parts of Italy, this puts it into perspective. A lot of restaurants say they serve food using the best and freshest ingredients, but when Quattro Passi says it, they mean a completely different thing. This is a restaurant you come to treat yourself. I really enjoyed it.

Date: 14/02/14
Location: Mayfair
Price for 2 people, with alcohol: I did not pay, so I don’t know

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Quattro Passi
34 Dover Street London W1S 4NG
United Kingdom
Quattro Passi Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 4.5