Celebrity Hotspot Sale e Pepe Celebrates 50th Anniversary With Revamp
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Celebrity Hotspot Sale e Pepe Celebrates 50th Anniversary With Revamp

The glitzy Knightsbridge stalwart is entering a new era

When Italian eatery Sale e Pepe first opened its doors on Pavilion Road in Knightsbridge back in the ‘70s, it quickly became a magnet for A-listers. It has remained a beloved fixture on the London restaurant scene ever since, but even the most iconic of venues need a bit of a refresh from time to time. That’s why, to mark its 50th anniversary this year, the restaurant is being given a revamp, helmed by Markus Thesleff, founder of Sale e Pepe’s new parent company, Thesleff Group.

Sale e Pepe 2.0 Is Here

Original owner Toni Corricelli first launched Sale e Pepe in 1974. With its prestigious location just around the corner from Harrods, decadent interiors and chic Italian menu, it’s no surprise the restaurant attracted a string of famous faces. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, it was frequented by endless film stars, singers, fashion icons and aristocracy, including Sir Rod Stewart, Roger Moore, Priscilla Presley, Bon Jovi, Diana Ross and Ringo Starr, among many others. 

Rod Stewart leaving Sale e Pepe

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Sale e Pepe continued to draw in the big names over the ‘90s and ‘00s, hosting everyone from Mariah Carey to Noel Gallagher  to Shania Twain. It barely changed at all over the years, and while this was part of its charm, more recently it became clear the venue needed a bit of love. In 2022, Corricelli eventually decided to hand over the reins after a whopping 45 years, enlisting Markus to spearhead a new era for the restaurant. 

Sale e Pepe

His aim is to bring the hotspot back to its sparkly heyday, which he remembers fondly, having first visited Sale e Pepe back in the ‘80s.

‘I discovered it [Sale e Pepe] in the late 80s when my parents used to visit regularly and would bring us along,’ he tells us. ‘We continued to visit for many years. It was always full of big-name A-listers, especially those from the music industry from across the pond and we still have a loyal American following after all these years.

‘Celebrities are drawn to restaurants known for great food, incredible service, and exclusive locations nestled behind Sloane Street, and between Harrods and Harvey Nichols. It’s also a favourite amongst both European and Middle Eastern royalty, and interestingly titans of business.’

So what can we expect from Sale e Pepe 2.0? Well, the interiors – which hadn’t been touched since the ‘70s – have been spruced up by Hamilford Design. The restaurant now sports a stylish new look which ‘pairs the rusticness of southern Italy with the aesthetic of a luxury Milanese townhouse’.

Pasta at Sale e Pepe

The menu has also had a refresh, which includes ‘loads of new lighter crudo style dishes such as Gamberi Scottati and Caviale Oscietra,’ according to Markus. He adds: ‘in addition, we have added more famiglia style sharing dishes such as the Polpo Grigliato, Linguine Vongole, or the salt baked cod, so it’s perfect for those who, like me, want to try different dishes at once. We’ve also brought back some old-school dishes like penne vodka. Of course, we have still kept a lot of our classic signature dishes like the Linguine all’Arragosta, Veal Milanese, and dover sole, which make Sale e Pepe what it is.’

The question is: will Sale e Pepe 2.0 start drawing in the kinds of big names it did when it started out? Will Harry Styles be popping in for some spaghetti vongole? We’ll have to wait and see – but either way, it’s well worth a visit (provided you’re happy to splash the cash).

saleepepe.co.uk