Babbo: The Modern Family
Whether it’s a super casual red-checkered tablecloth spot just down the road or somewhere more high-end like Lucio, we all love an Italian. There are oodles of reasons to feel this way, one of the main draws for me is that it’s so easy to feel at home, almost part of the family, in Italian Restaurants.
Sitting snugly next to Gymkana in London’s twinkling Mayfair, you will find Babbo (Daddy in Italian), where you get ‘that’ family-style welcome on arrival. Head Chef Carlo Scotto has been here since September 2012, which is hard to imagine as he’s only 28 now, and his passion is infectious.
My effervescent Mama has just arrived, so of course we’re starting with bubbles, Franciacorta Cuvee Prestige Brut specifically. Prosecco, for the most part, should be reserved for mimosas in the morning, but Franciacorta, on the other hand, is something to get excited about. It’s creaminess makes for very very easy drinking.
The biggest selection of gluten free goodies arrives (even piano bread for crying out loud) with all the frills. This doughy affair could 100% do without the cold sliced pan stuff, which is no bad thing, but if you’re going to serve it, it needs to be grilled, preferably on a Josper.
Chef Carlo pops up with a little amuse of soft potato cake and slow cooked duck egg. Big fan of this little number, namely the caramelised crust on the schpud cake. Having fresh white truffle shaved table side is a pretty special thing.
One of us had to fire in the pimped up caprese (with burrata replacing mozzarella), and that was Darty. It is the very definition of melt-in-your-mouth. In other news, Mama’s fried squid with lemon basil mayo (hello!) is a bit mad. The squid looks, and apparently tastes (it’s not gluten free), special, and you know me, I love something different, but this is more like a bar snack than a starter. Hats off to the lemon basil mayo though, I could have this with a lot of things. The hands down hero is salmon carpaccio with mango, chilli, lemon and cracked black pepper. It’s a clever dish as it sounds so simple and is executed with uptmost precision.
Mains don’t disappoint either, tuna is cooked just the way I like it, or not cooked much for that matter, whilst sea bass is cooked in a salt crust. Since it’s in season, I look no further than the white truffle risotto. There’s not much going on here but ingredients like these don’t need fussing around with. Although for a bit of contrast, I would like to see it presented on a different coloured plate, maybe charcoal grey or even black.
Even the desserts are worth getting excited about. Coffee creme brûlée and whisky ice-cream is a welcome pick-me-up and Babbo’s take on a lemon tart comes with fresh berries. Whilst there is such diversity going on here, the dessert menu is still crying out for Sgroppinos.
- Old school family vibezzz
- Gluten free friendliness
- The truffle menu
- The passionate talented Chef Carlo