If you like polish, Ritorno is the place for you. This cocktail bar on the King’s Road must go through buckets of the stuff. It’s got the kind of swish glossy floor that makes you wish you’d worn grippy walking boots and tables so sheeny they reflect your thirsty mug back up at you. The bar is shiny too: a light-up marble-effect creation backed by rows of glinting spirit bottles. The walls are all butterfly prints and the lights are low, giving a moody vibe even on a warm and sunny London evening.
As for Ritorno’s drinks menu, it promises a four-fold journey around Italy. One section showcases tipples inspired by Italian poets. The menu feels innovative – homemade butter and sage ice cubes make an appearance – but the drinks were more exciting written down than they were in reality. Still, the Sardegna, a short vodka-based concoction topped with lavender air, was sweet and botanical, while the Perla, a cocktail flavoured with rose and orange and topped with petals, was pretty to look at and easy to drink.
Small plates continued the Italian theme. We opted for creamy burrata, herby arancini balls, deep-fried anchovies and meaty Nocellara olives. The food was solid, a welcome accompaniment to our cocktails. But the most polished bit of Ritorno remains the surroundings.