Camillo Benso: A Mayfair Italian That Won't Break The Bank

Camillo Benso ★★★☆☆

Camillo Benso: A Mayfair Italian That Won't Break The Bank Camillo Benso 3

In Milan, Camillo Benso's restaurants sit at the fine dining end of the price scale, but the first London offering is supposed to be more accessible.

And it is, for Mayfair. Dishes ricochet oddly between price points, but ones which work for the location, more or less. There are some big spikes — £25 carpaccios and squid pasta, £15 for soup of the day or starters of mozzarella and tomatoes. But then the pizzas start at £9, which might not be blowing anybody's mind elsewhere in London, but here — caught between Mayfair's astronomical priciness and Oxford Street's chain offerings — is a welcome surprise.

View this post on Instagram

We are all set and ready to welcome you for #Dinner 🍴

A post shared by Camillo Benso London (@camillobensolondon) on

Some of our dishes justify the prices easily, the chewiness of the pasta and the coarse richness of the cacio-pepe something we'd come back for. Same for the aubergine parmigiana starter, doing all the hot, cheesily dense things you want from it. Less so the claggier Nerano pasta, or that mozzarella and tomato salad, some of the flavour sucked out by fridge-chill.

There are a few rougher edges, but ones which time should fix. The dessert menu never shows, and nor does a drinks list, but waiters are enthusiastic and on-point with recommendations. And as a space, it's welcoming, with green velvet banquettes, splashes of bling in the decor, a two-man band setting up in the corner. And pleasingly raucous: nearly empty when we arrive at 7.30pm on a weekday evening, by 9.30pm it's packed and loud with voices, plenty of them Italian.

We like the surprising raucousness, we like the Wednesday night band, we love the cacio e pepe. In an area that usually forces you to pick between chains or wallet-crushing options, Camillo Benso has the makings of an oasis.

View this post on Instagram

Cacio & Pepe till I die... @camillobensolondon

A post shared by Stacey (@crummbs_uk) on

Camillo Benso, 8-10, Blenheim Street, W1S 1LQ.

Last Updated 19 October 2018