The name appears seems to be a play both on the fact that the restaurant’s founders, chef and menu are all Italian; and the fact that it is positioning itself as a destination to see and be seen – the restaurant equivalent of an “it girl” if you will. Founder Alessio Matrone launched the original IT as a fine dining restaurant in Ibiza together with restauranteur Ferruccio De Lorenzo in 2015 before going on to launch a second IT in Milan, making IT London the third restaurant in the stable. Located in a former art gallery in Mayfair, IT looks every bit as plush as the address suggests. In the main dining area there is a glitzy Art Deco-inspired bar, marble tables with individual brass table lamps, polished brass charger plates and plush scallop-backed chairs in various shades of teal and aqua. The attractive semi-private dining area where we ate features similarly plush velvet banquettes and a dramatic skylight (there is also a private function space upstairs). In keeping with the restaurant’s Ibizan heritage there is also a DJ booth and I am told that guests can enjoy daily smooth daytime beats and “hypnotic evening grooves”, as well as special events from world-renowned DJs.
Photo courtesy and © IT Restaurant
In charge of the group’s menus is chef Gennaro Esposito of the two Michelin-starred restaurant La Torre del Saracino on the Neapolitan coast. The head chef in London is Adriano Rausa who joined from IT in Milan to take up the London head chef position. The focus remains on southern Italian cuisine, although the menu does digress into other Italian regions as well. We dined from a set menu on the night we visited, but all the dishes shown are available on the main menu. While we waited for all the guests to arrive we enjoyed an excellent gin and basil cocktail which was fresh and not too sweet – definitely something I want to try to recreate at home – and an excellent bottomless bread basket. With our cocktail we enjoyed a couple of excellent and super-thin crust IT signature pizzas – one classic margarita and one pizza bianca with yellow cherry tomatoes and chilli – both delicious.
We then tried a selection of from the starter menu, starting with the simple but delicious tartare di zucchine – a little tower of shaved zucchini in a creamy dressing with almonds and basil, topped with a crispy zucchini strip. I am definitely going to try this at home – such a perfect vegetarian starter! We also had the restaurant’s signature dish of Sicilian alici a beccafico – crumbed whole anchovies with orange sauce, pine nuts and raisins – an unusual combination which I liked but was not everybody’s cup of tea. The granchio, carciofi e avocado (King crab salad with artichoke and avocado) was a hit all round though with its dense, sweet chunks of crab meat (although with only 2 chunks of crab meat on the plate, more of an amuse bouche than a starter size portion!). We also had two bonus dishes of thinly sliced cold rosé veal with olive and tomato purée; (summery, light and delicious); and two little squares of excellent melanzane parmigiana (layers of aubergine with tomato, mozzarella and parmesan).
I chose the house white wine to have with my starters – a 2018 Vietti Roero Arneis from Piemonte, made of 100% Arneis grapes which are native to Piemonte and which I had not encountered before. The wine was delicious – a pale straw yellow color with fresh floral and melon aromas and fruity pear and apricots on the palate, balanced by fresh, crisp acidity. A perfect food wine. Up next was the restaurant’s signature pasta dish of Ravioli Capresi or ravioli from the island of Capri. These little round ravioli were filled with a mixture of ricotta and pecorino, served in a tomato sauce with parmesan. I loved the good ratio of filling to pasta and the excellent flavours, although I thought a little more tomato sauce would not have gone amiss. The main course was a highlight: carrè di agnello alla brace, crema di tarallo, cime di rapa e salsa di aglio dolce (charcoal rack of lamb, tarallo cream, turnip greens and a garlic sauce). This generous portion of lamb was beautifully trimmed, succulent and perfectly pink in the centre and all the components of the dish made for a delicious mix of flavours and textures. To finish off we had torta di noci, lime e gelato all’olio di oliva – a Calabrian walnut cake topped with olive oil cream, candied lime peel and whole walnuts, as well as a scoop of olive oil ice-cream. I loved everything about this dessert, especially the contrast between the moist, nutty cake, the surprisingly decadent olive oil cream and the zingy strips of candied lime peel. It wasn’t too sweet and the flavours were delicately balanced – one of the menu highlights for me!
Overall I was pleasantly surprised by the food – having heard that IT is a London outpost of an Ibiza restaurant, I had feared that it would be a case of style over substance – a glitzy music venue with a menu as an afterthought. But that was simply not the case. The food overall was good and in some cases excellent (I am looking at you, charcoal lamb, wafer thin pizzas, and walnut cake!). The service was perhaps not a strong point – friendly and charming rather than knowledgeable and efficient – but to be fair we were a party of at least 20 which is always a challenge for staff. I forgot to ask for a menu and so I cannot tell you exactly what each dish costs, but unsurprisingly they are not cheap and a meal here will set you back between £60 and £100 per head. But with its generally good food, plush surroundings and some Ibiza tunes from renowned DJs thrown in, I can see this becoming a place to see and be seen in London. Bonus tip: make sure you visit the ladies’ room before you leave – it’s very instagrammable!
Cost per head: approx £80-£100 for 3 courses and a shared bottle of wine
Nearest Tube/Train station: Green Park
28-29 Dover Street
Tel: +44 (0)20 3887 4360
If you enjoyed this post, why not have a look at my other London restaurant reviews.
DISCLOSURE: I enjoyed this meal as a guest of IT London but received no further remuneration to write this post. I was not expected to write a positive review – all views are my own and I retain full editorial control.
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