Enter a world of authenticity at Bocconcino, where culinary dreams come true. Mayfair is the perfect backdrop to what will be guaranteed your your best meal of the week.
In three words: Authentic, Stylish, Relaxed
The Lowdown: Mayfair has no shortage of swanky establishments to grab a bite – but sometimes you want a place that’s going have the glamour element whilst also being assured of a hearty meal. The Italians have never been accused of scrimping on portions, and so we were excited to hear about Bocconcino – a new pizzeria serving exemplary authentic dishes.
Location: One of several gorgeous establishments that line Berkeley Street. There’s a large glass window through which you can just glimpse golden light within, and entry is through a huge and rather grand door set into the wall.
The Occasion: This place screams date night, for many reasons. The atmosphere is glamorous but relaxed, it’s intimate without being pokey; and it caters to both sexes – ladies will love the chance to get dolled up, while guys can spend the evening chowing on pizza.
Decor: There’s a kind of Old Hollywood glamour abounding here – we got a sense of country club meets elegant mansion. Fawns and cappuccino colours give a chic vibe, while the sweeping glass staircase that leads down to the restaurant oozes style.
Atmosphere: Smooth funk and jazz plays, a dapper barman holds court behind a shimmering bar, and there are little alcoved for nestling in. The staff are so friendly that you immediately feel like you’re in good hands, and the overwhelming sensation is that this is a place to relax and enjoy the fantastic cuisine.
Culinary Concept: Bocconcino is all about the authentic experience, and the menu is inspired by the vibrant flavours of Forte dei Marmi, a seaside town in Northern Tuscany. With Italian wines, wood-fired pizza and homemade pasta, there’s a real sense that honest, genuine cooking prevails.
What we tried: A starter of salmon tartare arrived as a glistening disk of perfectly pink seafood, atop which was balanced a tiny quails egg, top removed, that we duly tipped onto the fish. The result was one of the finest tartars I’ve had in some time. Salmon of the utmost freshness was bound together with the golden yolk, and the saltiness of caper and anchovy gave it that extra kick. We accompanied this with shards of crisp parmesan bread (insanely more-ish) and a platter of wafer-thin Tuscan meats.
On to the main courses, and it would have been a travesty not to try one of Bocconcino’s many pizzas. We settled on their special offering, named after the restaurant – a white pizza topped with stracchino, mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and Parma ham. The balance was just what pizza lovers crave – just crisp enough, with a thin base, but not so thin that you couldn’t appreciate the freshness of the dough. A huge hit. The other phenomenal course was without doubt the Linguine with Scottish lobster and cherry tomato. Fans of this dish might weep with pleasure – the pasta was just al dente enough, there was a gratifyingly generous amount of rich sauce, and the lobster was sweet, succulent and juicy.
Now, if there’s one thing Italian’s do well it is dessert, so we couldn’t not try the Chocolate Fondant and the New York Cheesecake. The latter didn’t disappoint with the crunchy biscuit base and creamy topping, while the fondant oozed decadent chocolate and was temptation on a plate.
For next time: Black ink spaghetti with calamari and bottarga caught-out eye, while we also think it would be a good idea to work our way through some more of those pizzas…
Veggie delights: Vegetarians will love the multiple pizzas on offer, which have an array of exciting toppings. There’s also a selection of pasta dishes and a tasty sounding Porcini mushroom risotto.
Best of the booze: The cocktail prowess here was quite sensational, with both a Negroni and an Old Fashioned eliciting a murmur of approval from my seasoned drinking partner. The wine menu is also something to get excited about – the two glasses of red that we tried were punchy with red fruit and just enough depth to balance the meal.
Overall: Bocconinco aims to provide quality Italian food in glamorous and yet comfortable surroundings, and it has absolutely succeeded. Everything here oozes Italian style – from the delicious food to the Ricardo Barthel fittings in the bathroom. It’s not only the menu that will have diners flocking – it’s also the superb atmosphere that radiates relaxation. Whether having a date, meeting friends, or planning a family get-together, then Bocconcino caters to your needs. Take a seat, feel the weight of the world drift away, and prepare yourself for a seriously good Italian experience.
19 Berkeley Street, London
+44 (0) 20 7499 4510