What's the deal?
Already fixtures on the East Sussex dining scene, with a restaurant each in Brighton and Hove, Cin Cin's opened their first London site.
What's the vibe?
Cin Cin's new spot's small and cosy (just 20 covers inside, and the same again for pavement seating), with a less rustic, more romantic take on a trattoria — informal, neighbourhoody feel, but scattered with velvet banquettes and candlelight.
Sun-dappled corner of Fitzrovia, on the spot that used to be Bonnie Gull. Nearest tube stations: Oxford Circus, and Piccadilly Circus.
What's on the menu?
Choose between a la carte and a regularly changing set menu — a five courser for £45 with two choices of main.
At time of writing the website for the London branch was relatively skeletal — you'll find the London menu currently tucked away on the Brighton restaurant page.
No particular regional affiliation in Italy, and the menu bounces happily around Sicilian seafood and Roman pasta dishes — 'just things we like', says our waiter. When we visit that includes burrata with red pesto and asparagus, crab arancini, sea bream (crispy skinned and perfect), and a plate of Cuore di Vesuvio tomatoes — part of the antipasti, but so good if they'd been served as a dish in their own right we'd have still been heart-eyed over them.
There aren't any lowlights, tbh. We reckon the would-order-again prize goes to the courgette cacio e pepe, with gnocchi, rather than pasta — bits of al dente Trombetta courgette scattered in there, velvety sauce, gnocchi soaking it up thirstily. And the tomatoes (see above in their no filter, eye searingly bright glory), with just a slick of pepper-laced vinegar across them, tasting about as vividly of Italian sunshine as a tomato can. Or the focaccia, with its fluffy, softly elastic springiness.
Couldn't get into the zabaglione, apricot and honey dessert, personally, as it's custard by any other name — but my date finished both of ours at a sprint so it clearly does something for custardfans.
If you go with the set menu, wine and coffee, it's going to push £150 with service for two people. The a la carte offers some cheaper routes through dinner, with pasta dishes — including those gnocchi — at around the £15 mark, and portions generous enough that you don't need five courses.
Vegetarian and vegan offering?
Yup. The menu's short, so only expect one or two options.
Can you reserve?
Can and, if you want an outside table, should — there's just a small cluster of pavement seating.
Pre-game and post-game?
Cin Cin has a drinks menu that can take you all the way from aperitivi to digestivi, if you're feeling dedicated. If you want to stretch your legs — or like us, still just feel over the moon about being able to wander down a street buzzing with drinkers, dropping into pubs as the desire takes you — the Crown and Sceptre's on the corner with a decent beer list, or you could get something high-concept at Artesian.
And if you want to end with an on-theme Italian note, you can scoop up a cone from Amorino on your way back towards a tube station.
Cin Cin London, 21 Foley Street, W1W 6DS.
Londonist were guests of Cin Cin.