The Hari’s il Pampero, Belgravia
Stepping into The Hari’s sumptuous, subterranean Italian restaurant, il Pampero, feels like being let in on a secret. A square art deco bar steals the show, with dark top tables orbiting the bottle-stacked, gently glowing counter. Dinner tables are topped with wine glasses, bouncing with the flickering candles’ light. The wine list is delivered on an iPad, featuring a delectable selection of grown up cocktails (think Italicus and olive juice with prosecco and soda in The King’s Guard, sitting alongside a signature negroni). But the food is listed on a physical menu, championing authentic Italian cuisine in these sleek and modern surroundings. Start light: the Spada Affumicato (smoked swordfish) is light yet moreish, accompanied by taggiasche olive puree, semi dried datterino tomatoes and pickled onion. Or opt for the timeless pepper seared beef carpaccio, or a classic selection of artisanal Italian cold cuts, salami, pecorino and aged parmesan for the table.
As for mains, there’s no going wrong with pasta, and il Pampero is home to some of London’s best homemade pasta accompanied by unique flavours, ranging from lamb ragu with Pecorino and mint, to spaghetti with chickpeas, octopus and tomato, to the vegan tube pasta with a ragu of aubergine, tomato and taggiasche olive. Staying on the fish theme, I opt for the delicate Branzino Al Cartoccio, seabass fillet presented in the crispy paper it was baked in and accompanied by olives, tomato, mussels and herbs; simply delicious. There’s also slow cooked pork belly, a steak, and a chicken stew to choose from, alongside a vegan Melanzana. Whatever you choose, local leads the way, with a rotating menu drawing on the best of seasonal produce, fashioned into traditional Italian dishes. By Olivia Emily
TRY: We all know there’s a separate stomach for pudding, but the Baba’ Al Rum is worth saving yourself for if you’re one of the rare few. It’s very rummy, accompanied by lovely vanilla custard and poached cherries.
20 Chesham Pl, London SW1X 8HQ; thehari.com