Literally meaning ‘tailoring’ in Italian, Sartoria is Savile Row’s sole restaurant. Launched by D&D in 2015, Calabrian chef Francesco Mazzei was brought in for the launch, having previously reached the pinnacle of his acclaim at L’Anima in the city. At L’Anima, the chef became renowned for his focussed Italian cooking with dishes such as rich sabayon, and match sticks of deep-fried courgette – both of which have been brought along to Sartoria. Since the opening of Sartoria, Mazzei has continued to act as the restaurant’s Chef Patron, having also opened Radici in Islington and Fiume in Battersea.
Fusing classic Mayfair charm with timeless Italian style, Sartoria opens with an elegant bar space (with an exceptional cigar terrace worth visiting) which leads into the large restaurant festooned with lavish armchairs and plus cushions against a sea of pristine table cloths. Service is suitably polished, with the largely Italian wait staff keen to discuss particular hits from Francesco Mazzei’s menu of Italian fine dining classics with distinct leanings towards the ingredients and specialities of Calabria – the region the chef calls home. Classic Calabrian Baccalà (cured cod)has its place on the menu, as does ‘Nduja, featured with the burrata-stuffed tortellini finished with aged balsamic vinegar. As expected, the olive oil, which joins the bread selection, is gloriously peppery with high bitter notes.
During a recent visit on the hottest day of the year thus far, dinner began with a notably light dish showcasing a courgette flower stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies, complemented by fresh peas and broad beans. An exceptionally simple dish, expensive at £16 but also exemplary in its execution. Vitello tonnato (£14.50), on the other hand, was a heavily refined riff on the Piedmontese classic. Wafer thin slivers of millennial pink veal were crowned with gently blanched carrots and artichokes, pickled red onion petals and a soft-boiled quail’s egg alongside thick, concentrated blobs of traditional tuna sauce dotted around the plate. Another triumph.
A main of lamb rump (£27.50) was accompanied by gorgeous accoutrements such as courgette with a whisper of mint and sweetbreads – one of the beast’s most delicious offerings – but the otherwise well-cooked lamb was let down by an acrid bitterness imparted as the result of being finished in an excessively hot pan. Far better was a dish of al dente tagliolini ribbons tangled with a generous helping of de-shelled Scottish lobster, a former peasant’s food that has become the epitome of luxury in its long storied history, and a broth rich with tomato, basil, sweet Amalfi lemon and a suggestion of chilli (£30.50). A remarkable pasta dish elevated to suit the restaurant’s opulent ambiance.
To finish, a doorstop of pistachio cake (£8) was almost alarmingly verdant and unexpectedly light, simply teamed with a handful of summer berries. Sartoria’s tiramisu (£8), on the other hand, provided evidence that high-end cooking needn’t be overly fussy or necessarily innovative. Instead, a classic dish prepared with skill, care and remarkable produce can be an absolute revelation.
Like a good Cirò red, Sartoria has improved with age. Yes, the restaurant is expensive, but it also offers one of the best Italian fine dining experiences in London. La dolce vita, indeed.
Sartoria can be found at 20 Saville Row, London, W1S 3PR.