Perfectly proportioned southern Italian cuisine tempts a stylish clientele at this evergreen Mayfair hotspot

Cut from the same plush cloth as the grand outfitters of London’s Savile Row, Sartoria (‘tailoring’ in Italian) has been the only restaurant to sit on the renowned street since its launch in 1998 – though it’s certainly loosened its tie since then.

A complete design overhaul in 2015 led by David d’Almada, (the man responsible for Mayfair’s Arts Club), introduced the perfect balance of W1 opulence and slick Milanese styling. Expect an inviting aesthetic of plump olive-green banquettes, sumptuous floral armchairs, a copper-coloured bar and carpets so soft you’ll want to enlist an atelier to make a bespoke autumn jumper from them.

It wasn’t just the interiors that received an upgrade that year, though. Acclaimed chef Francesco Mazzei was appointed, dressing the menu with a flurry of southern Italian heritage. His dishes are as much about substance as they are about style. Aside from the classic antipasti, of which the burrata and artichoke is choice, firm favourites include classics such as seafood fregola.

Commonly referred to as a ‘Sardinian couscous’, the pasta is first soaked in semolina, then dried, before being toasted and added to a rich tomato bisque. On our visit, it was resplendent with fat Sicilian prawns, delicate hunks of cod and a medley of mussels and razor clams that tasted just like a summer day by the sea – helped by our choice to dine alfresco on the terrace on an unseasonably warm evening. Closing our eyes, we could have easily been perched in a Positano palazzo.

The lobster tagliolini that followed was equally indulgent, with the tender meat perched atop ribbons of glossy, bite-perfect pasta. Mazzei’s partner in crime Enrico Bucci – originally from Rome, now the restaurant’s general manager – feigned outrage when we declined dessert. A slice of pistachio cake arrived carte blanche, accompanied by a scoop of pistachio gelato with the ‘dolce of the day’ – an intoxicating combination of hazelnut, espresso and chocolate that tasted like a reconstructed cappuccino freddo. Unsurprisingly, both were devoured with no thought for trouser-top buttons, which, by the time we left were bursting at the seams. Good job there’s a good tailor around here.

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