It’s fair to say that London isn’t short of an Italian restaurant or two. And whilst the likes of Bancone, Padella and Pastio have all gained popularity recently, for their democratically priced, small plates of pasta – Bocconcino is doing things Mayfair-style.
Let’s set the scene – to get here we passed Nobu, Novikov and Sexy Fish. So whilst you can spend £38 on lobster linguine, you’ll be pleased to know Bocconcino also offers a set menu priced at £29 or 2 courses or £25 for 3. Phew.
On first impressions, this place is quite the looker. You’ll come in on the ground floor to an impressive expanse of gold, marble and glass. Coats checked, you’ll descend the spiral staircase onto the chequered floor of the basement, where helpful waiters will rustle you up a cocktail pronto, whilst you get settled in. We’d recommend the ‘Spicy Passion’ with chilli infused El Jimador tequila, vanilla syrup, passion fruit and lime juice to get you started. There’s an open kitchen to one side and an impressive selection of seafood on ice (although sadly that doesn’t feature on the set menu).
We kicked off with a big oozing ball of burrata served with basil, pesto and baby plum tomatoes, a classic but winning combination, executed well. The peppery rocket salad had been topped with a generous layer of wafer-thin bresaola and long shards of parmesan. With so dishes so large, they’re perfect to share between two, especially if you’re heavy-handed with the bread, oil and balsamic they bought out to tempt us with on arrival.
Onto the main course then, where you’ll choose from a pasta, pizza, fish or meat option. Despite the duck sounding rather appetizing, both myself and my guest are complete pasta-fiends (if it’s on a menu I can very rarely resist), so we both demolished huge bowls of courgette and ricotta taglioini, each tendril slathered in sauce. Amazingly we found space for a large slab of tiramisu which despite its size was as light as air.
Where you’d get chased out of the faster-paced restaurants mentioned above, after little longer than an hour, Bocconcino is a place to linger – whether you’re celebrating a successful business deal, a special birthday or just the end of the working week. A good value spot (if you want it to be), in Mayfair.