It’s always Fashion Week at Fumo. At least that’s how it feels: all buzz and beautiful people. Plus a smattering of tourists – it is on St Martin’s Lane, after all – looking pretty pleased with processions of chichi Italian sharing plates from this latest outpost of the San Carlo empire (Signor Sassi, Cicchetti etc).
To my left, two dapper dans were on date night, sporting expensive, ostentatiously placed manbags. Along the counter, a gaggle of couture-chasing holidaymakers, inspecting their fresh manicures. All around, people, people, people. The space is huge, tables tight, but it’s packed to bursting. Were those mirrors? Nope. More bodies.
The waiters – mostly ludicrously handsome David Gandy-alikes – pirouette around the tables effortlessly. The room is elegant, in a high-fashion, Milanese way: rolling swathes of marble (dark on the floor, creamy on the walls), luxurious upholstery and warm, flattering light.
As for the food, it was mostly excellent. There was a silken burrata layered with parma ham and earthy black truffle shavings (a snip at £9.95, given the ingredients). Or a trio of crunchy-on-the-outside-ragu-in-the-middle arancini (£5.65). Then nicely al dente pasta: a plate of little-seen paccheri (oversized tubes) with tuscan pork sausage and calabrian chilli (£9.25) or tagliatelli with ‘nonna’s’ six-hour bolognese (£7.95). The reason I’m listing all the costs – correct at the time of writing – is this. These are palatial surrounds at Pizza Express prices. There are a couple of things to avoid (overcooked beef tagliata; too-sweet cannoli), but otherwise, this is somewhere that looks more expensive than it actually is. And for that, it’s completely fabulous, darling.