Frescobaldi is a new Italian restaurant in Mayfair which opened in November - I visited on the opening night for a drinks reception and excellent three course meal prepared by Roberto Reatini, the talented young head chef formerly of Zafferano and Shoreditch House, who offers his own contemporary take on classic Tuscan cuisine.
This is the Frescobaldi family's first standalone venue in the UK: it's an upmarket restaurant in an upmarket part of town serving great quality Italian food, specialities from Tuscany and an incredible wine list from one of the most respected dynasties in the wine world.
The restaurant has an extensive vino selection by Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi, the prestigious, award-winning producers whose extraordinary legacy encompasses nine estates in the hills around Florence and Siena. The Frescobaldis' illustrious involvement in the wine industry dates back to 1308: they traded wine for artwork with Michelangelo and Roman Emperor Maximillian I recommended the Frescobaldis to the Pope.
We had a couple of glasses of prosecco in the downstairs bar and nibbled on chunks of parmesan before being seated at our tables. Still water, fresh bread and bright green, super flavourful extra virgin olive oil (the family is associated with Laudemio, one of the world’s finest olive oils, made from olives harvested and pressed on the same day for maximum freshness) - so far, so good.
For starters, we had a light beetroot salad with watercress and pistachio served with the fresh Pomino Bianco 2013, a mineral-y Chardonnay blend - which seemed a good place to start, as the Frescobaldi family was the first to introduce Chardonnay to Italy 200 years ago.
Linguine with lobster and chilli was served with the Attems Ramato 2013 - a Pinot Grigio, which is a traditional copper rose-like wine, made in Attems, 150m above sea level. I hadn't had it before and it was delicious. So delicious in fact that the sommerlier Teseo - who one of the sommeliers at George and Amal Clooney's wedding last year in Venice - told us that Bill Murray was also so taken with this one that he managed to take a box of it home with him. Good old Bill Murray.
For dessert we had a warm apple and walnut tart served with a tasty, slightly spicy cinnamon ice cream and a glass of Vinsanto naturale 2007, which was my least favourite as I'm not a big fan of sweet dessert wines. Moving on, I finished with a pot of fresh mint tea and a couple of biscotti.
The restaurant team certainly know what they're doing: owner Diana Frescobaldi is part of the 30th generation of the Frescobaldi family - thirtieth! - and not only has this heritage behind her but also an economics degree from Brown, so I imagine the business is in good hands. Diana launched the restaurant division and introduced dei Frescobaldi wine bars in Rome, Florence and inside Harrods. We also met one of the three owners, Sanjay Nandi, who has been involved in the hospitality industry for years, operating restaurants in Turkey, Russia and the London-based Tom Aikens Group.
The interiors create a warm atmosphere embracing the family's rich, culinary history: rustic ceramic tiles, dark wooden panels and hand painted wall drawings, with modern touches including the massive glass windows to flood the space with natural light. It's a comfortable, relaxed vibe perfect for long lunches and every plate, wine pairing and member of staff was great, so it's heartily recommended.
Frescobaldi Ristorante London, 15 New Burlington Place, W1S 2HX