New York City’s Scarpetta restaurant group has made a name bringing authentic Italian fare to the Hamptons and Miami, and now it has landed in London’s Knightsbridge with its new opening Sette, which has found a rather glamorous home on the ground floor of Bvlgari Hotel London.
The food may taste like it was made in a remote Italian village, but there is nothing rustic about this interior. Everything gleams – large wall mirrors bounce light from the Art Deco-inspired lighting, off the white marble and brass bar island and sparkling glassware on the tables, while smart leather booths offer a welcoming seat with a pleasing amount of space between us and our table neighbours. It’s a mix of old-world glamour and modern chic that really complements the large space. Foliage adds a Mediterranean touch, with two living walls and greenery sprouting from above the bar for good measure, and the amenities of the Bvlgari Hotel are a quick skip through the hallway should you fancy a spin on Nolita Social’s dancefloor downstairs post cocktails.
Scarpetta is a take on the Italian tradition of ‘fare la Scarpetta’, which means to indulge in a meal down to the very last taste – and Brummell certainly respected this ethos. Something as simple as the breadbasket comes with mascarpone butter, which we enjoyed down to the last spread, while the creamy polenta with a fricassée of truffled mushrooms had us scraping the bottom of the mini cast iron pot it arrived in. The cavatelli with goat cheese crema, cherry tomato, fava and mint was fresh, flavourful and just the right sized portion, while the short rib and bone marrow agnolotti delivered pasta parcels filled with perfectly prepared, melt-in-your-mouth rib. For dessert, the espresso budino with salted caramel, hazelnut gelato and a side of biscotti is a decadent deal-closer, or for something lighter, the citrusy twice baked lemon cake with ivory lime cream, milk jam, blackberry and lemon sorbet is a pretty palette cleaner.
The large circular bar is the first thing you see when entering, a nod to the fact that drinks are taken seriously here. There is a great choice of classic cocktails with a Sette twist – the spritz tropicale with aperol, cedrata tassoni, mango and prosecco felt summery even in the low mood lighting, while the negroni mediterraneo with Bombay Sapphire, watermelon-infused Campari, cocchi and basil spritz looked as good in the glass as it tasted. The in-house sommelier was on hand to pair our mains with something suitable, and the Bellavista Franciacorta ‘Alma’ NV, a product of Lombardy, was the perfect choice for the lighter pasta dish, while Puglia’s A Mano Primitivo 2017, an elegant, complex red, wasn’t about to let the rib overshadow it.
Three courses with cocktails and wine for two, £150
Sette covers all bases, from brunch to dinner, and Sunday lunch even offers a prix-fixe menu from 12-9pm (4 courses for £30pp). Whatever you’re visiting for, it’s going to feel like a special treat that you won’t forget in a hurry.