Review: Babbo Mayfair

Mimi ON Mar 02, 2011 AT 12:32 pm

Babbo Restaurant

Babbo Restaurant

by John Gregory-Smith

Babbo was one of those restaurants that I loved on entry. It had all the character of a beautifully run, local restaurant but the sophistication you’d expect from a Mayfair location. The simple dinning room oozed Italian style and had a wonderful atmosphere – people happily eating, not posing or shoulder spying, just tucking into delicious homemade Italian food and loving every mouthful of it.

The menu was a selection of classic regional Italian dishes; ossobuco alla Milanese, Tuscan veal cheek in red wine sauce, salt crust sea bass and a selection of home-made pastas, which culminated in their signature dish lasagne al ragout di chianina – lasagna with meat ragu prepared to a secret recipe of over 100 years old, passed to chef Douglas Santi by his grandmother.

My mum, who loves Italian food, joined me for lunch. For our starters we had the tuna and salmon tartar with avocado and bread salad (£11.80) and, on Babbo’s recommendation, the capresse di burrata e basilico – capresse salad with burrata cheese tomato and basil (£14.90). Burrata is a fresh buffalo mozzarella with a mozzarella and cream center. The cheese, which was like biting into a soft, creamy, silky smooth ball of heaven was served simply with tomatoes, basil and a balsamic glaze. This was one of the best cheese experiences to date and one I would recommend to any self respecting cheese fan.

Cuisine at Babbo

Cuisine at Babbo

For our mains we both went for the house specialty, which was the Lasagna al ragu di chianina – lasagna with meat ragu (£19.90). The lasagna was completely amazing. The dark yellow homemade pasta was filled with a simple cheese sauce and a wonderfully rich, winey ragu. This was Italian simplicity at it’s best. In fact my only complaint was that the lasagna was served on a hot plate, which meant I was unable to scoff it down for a few minutes without fear of 3rd degree mouth burns, and for a glutton that was hard!

Being lunch we obviously declined pudding, until the maitre’d ordered 2 cakes of the day. Out came a chocolate semifreddo with hazelnuts and a dark chocolate sauce. The chilled semifreddo was so smooth and creamy and tasted delicious doused in the rich sauce and crunchy roasted nuts. It reminded me of a grownup’s ice cream Sunday. How he knew I was a chocolate fiend I will never know, but thank the lord he spotted me coming, as this was not worth missing out.

Babbo’s offer a set lunch £19 for 2 courses or £22 for 3.

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