This Yachting-Themed Restaurant Brings The Italian Riviera To Mayfair

Chucs Mayfair ★★★★★

This Yachting-Themed Restaurant Brings The Italian Riviera To Mayfair Chucs Mayfair 5

Chucs Dover Street is miniature. Just six tables — rising to eight in the height of summer with a compact bit of pavement seating. So there's some serious exclusivity going on. Along with some serious theming.

It's a very specific vision of Italy they're serving up here: the Italian Riviera as viewed from a yacht, in the Talented Mr Ripley, splasherati jet-set era. In advance, that sounds like a recipe for high-gimmickry and the occasional bit of nautical bric-a-brac; on arrival it turns out to be more like a sunset dinner in a miniature, wood-panelled boat cabin: small lamps studding the walls and banquette-backs, Slim Aarons-hued photos covering the walls.

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The menu's shortish, lovely and steeply-priced, shifting course with the seasons. And despite that pricing bringing out our kneejerk response to Mayfair — it might be good, but £30-odd for a main course good? — it is, all of it, unimpeachably great. The portions are generous enough to make it feel slightly less steep and that much lovelier. On-theme Vesper martinis are small, crisp and chilly, a crab and avocado salad slides expertly down that line between high-indulgence and simple innocence.

And the pastas. The pastas are properly escapist: Amalfi lemon tagliatelle bright with sweet, peppery warmth, and the bigoli vaccinara oxtail ragu dense and rich enough for you to ignore the starter and dessert sections, and make a dinner of by itself.

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In a postcode where the restaurants and bars are mostly about glitz and being seen, Chucs Dover Street is more about being secluded. What happens to glitz when it goes on holiday, gets a bit sunkissed and salt-crusted, swaps out the stilettos for sandals. That lemon tagliatelle might be our hero dish of the evening, but there isn't a misstep anywhere: Chucs Dover Street's an unstarchy, welcoming slice of yacht life. We love the cut of their jib.

Chucs, 30 Dover Street, W1S 4NB.

Last Updated 28 June 2019