Stateside restaurant group Scarpetta, a classy mini-chain you’d go to for swish pasta and slick cocktails, has now sprouted this London offshoot, Sette. Attached to the ground floor of the Bulgari hotel in Knightsbridge, this isn’t the place for a bowl of Mamma’s meatballs. Like its big sisters, Sette’s food is modern, refined and photogenic, the setting chic and contemporary.
Antipasti, like a plate of pillowy, almond-dusted salmon tartare, or the buttery, truffle-soaked mushrooms with silky polenta, were seriously seductive, but don’t miss the signature spaghetti – a visit to Sette wouldn’t be complete without it. Served under a glass cloche, the mound of perky noodles – made fresh on site each day – came smothered in a zingy, velvety tomato sauce flecked with fresh basil. Simple but superb.
Equally inhalable was a plate of scialatielli (like short, chubby fettucine) tossed with the sprightliest prawns, clams and mussels, along with juicy cherry tomatoes just waiting to erupt inside your mouth. Calabrian chilli added waves of heat and pepper.
And if you do manage to save space for the dolci (desserts), you won’t regret it. A wonderfully sour, twice-baked lemon cake with citrus sorbet managed to make me wince in a good way, while the blonde chocolate cheesecake was fluffy, nutty and as out-and-out indulgent as a £12 dessert should be.
Sette’s carb therapy doesn’t come cheap, but this North American import has the class, quality and flair (did I mention the glass cloche?) that makes paying almost 20 quid for a portion of spaghetti just about forgiveable. And if flush family members, friends or first dates are around to pick up the tab, so much the better, of course.