You know you’re in terrifyingly posh territory when you find yourself on the purple bit of the Monopoly board. Thankfully, Babbo (meaning ‘daddy’ in Italian) in London‘s Mayfair isn’t half as imposing on the inside as you expect from its ‘look-at-me’ position on Albemarle Street, with white-clothed tables, smartly-suited waiters and a clientele of pearl- and pashmina-wearing diners softened somewhat by warm, orange-hued lighting, beautifully ornate antique mirrors, richly upholstered bentwood chairs and an oversized urn stuffed with gorgeous lilies. It could be a stuffy affair, but it’s not – far from it, in fact, with the kind of intimate, smiley service that has made the social Italian way of eating so beloved in the first place. We sat at a small table for two by the stairs, affording us perfect-people watching views from our pretty perch; the crowd is as you’d expect, with sharply-dressed power dinners taking place alongside even more sharply-dressed power dates. Whey they have in common, it seems, is their love of the inspiring – but surprisingly simple – Italian menu. Keeping things light to begin with, we opted for the scallops and the San Danielle ham with porcini mushrooms, both of which lived up to their descriptive promises. For mains, we went with meatier fare in the form of Tuscan veal cheek in red wine sauce (the knife cut through it like butter) and grilled Italian fillet with bell green pepper sauce and potatoes. Both were heavy, but deliciously so, and left us wondering how Italians stay slim enough to squeeze into their size-zero labels. Arguably, the best thing about the belt-busting meal was the wine, with three gorgeous varieties perfectly matched to each dish; a light, zesty number was followed by something heartier, stronger and altogether more heartwarming, finished off by a sparky white dessert wine to accompany the sweet burrata (essentially, a thick slab or mozzarella given a sweet ‘Caprese-style’ twist). Unexpected, but absolutely welcome, it was the perfect end to a diet-defying meal and proves, once and for all, that Italians really do do it better.
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About Hg2 | A Hedonist's Guide To...

Hg2 | A Hedonist's Guide is a luxury city guide series coveted by travellers who value both style and substance when it comes to soaking up a city. Irreverent, inspired, and, above all, intelligent.

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