IT In Mayfair Adds Elegance To The Simplest Of Dishes
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Mayfair does not do simple. It's the part of London famed for its elegance, a fact that will forever be enshrined by its placement on the Monopoly board.
New Italian opening and Ibiza transplant IT looks on the surface to be just another elegant addition to the area. Swish interiors are complemented by stylish clientele. I've never felt at home in most Mayfair establishments, but then I notice that a lot of the other diners are speaking Italian. To know that people whose culture this is are coming here to eat settles the nerves somewhat.
The menu arrives and it's intriguing. Dishes of decadence — I see you, 'Elite caviar' — sit alongside far more humble dishes, like spaghetti in a tomato sauce. So I test both traits out for starters; a classic aubergine parmigiana, and a fennel gratin, with avocado and almonds. They're both a work of art to look at — the parmigiana resembles a perfect mathematical cube, while the gratin wouldn't look amiss hung in the Louvre. And the gratin tastes good enough to back up promise its exterior dishes out, (the same can't quite be said about the parmigiana — delicious, but I've had better traditional ones).
For mains, the same tactic. One fancy (the potato, wild mushroom and black truffle) and one traditional (ravioli). The pasta arrives and I have an immediate question — why do half of the bowler hat-shaped pieces of pasta have basil atop them and the other half have cheese? I'd much rather the flavours inter-mingle. And there's so little of it, especially compared to the truffle topped tower my guest is tucking into. But one bite of the ravioli is all that it takes for my whining to evaporate. How does a chef possibly cram so much flavour into something so small and simple? It's like a culinary Tardis. The aforementioned black truffle and potato tower is similarly exquisite, the main difference between the two dishes is that this time I can see where the flavour is coming from.
The meal ends on an ever-so-slightly sour note — and by sour, I mean far too sweet. My lemon and pistachio tart is so sugary that I have to check my teeth are still all present and correct at the end of it. And while the tiramisu looks delightful deconstructed, it doesn't improve upon the dish at all. If anything it telescopes on the coffee flavour too much, leaving everything else in its wake. However, these are minor quibbles, considering that both plates were left clean — it just didn't quite match what had come before.
Due to its location, I judged IT before sitting down. And considering the cost of my order, I'm not saying my judgement was necessarily wrong. Just that with food this good, I don't care.
IT, 28-29 Dover Street, W1S 4LX
Last Updated 18 December 2019