An Italian takeover of an opulent West End icon.
If you’ve never poked your head around the door of the 133-year-old Criterion restaurant, what are you waiting for? With its gold mosaic ceiling and other luscious features inspired by exotic corners of the globe, it offers a rare window on a long-gone imperial world. (It is, incidentally, where Downton’s Lady Edith went for ‘date night’).
In recent years the Criterion’s owners have struggled to make this cavernous, eye-grabbing dining room pay: its latest incarnation is as the London outpost of Savini, a supremely upscale Milanese restaurant. The food is very good – but so it should be when a meal for two with a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses of champagne comes to well over £200.
The veal Milanese (£29) was a whopping slab of crisp and tasty meat, while the pasta of the day (£28.95) – ‘woven’ intrecci with white prawns and scallops – was a highlight. The trouble is, Savini boasts extravagant prices but no atmosphere. The new bosses have dampened the longstanding opulence with a layer of conservative Italian decor, but it’s hard to see this place becoming a hip spot for anyone, regardless of budget. My advice? Splash out at the plush bar just to take in the surroundings.
|Venue name:||Savini at Criterion||Contact:|
|Transport:||Tube: Piccadilly Circus|
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