Assaggetti, Haymarket, London

Assaggetti – Informal Italian Dining in the Heart of London:

I’ve been to Assaggetti before, for a media event where the large lower ground floor dining room was the venue for drinks and canapés.  On that particular occasion I was going on to another event and didn’t really get much of a chance to look around.

So, lunch seemed like a good idea;)

We started with an aperitif – prosecco for me and a rather nice orangy drink called Aperol  for the Hedonist.  And ordered a selection of small dishes to start.  The Assaggetti menu is perfect for grazing, with lots and lots of dishes priced between £3 and £6 so that you could, if you chose, just order a selection of those.  There are pizzettine which we didn’t sample but which looked rather good and a whole selection of other small dishes to choose from including cold meats, seafood and a range of antipastini.

assaggetti olives

We had some focaccia to go with our splendid olives, ‘messy polenta’, calamari and creamy burratta.  The calamari was crisply battered and served with a slice of lime.

assaggetti - calamari

Burratta came with slices of not quite ripe enough tomato and a single basil leaf.  I loved the cheese itself and will blame the tomato on the appalling weather across the UK and the fact that I am just back from Tuscany where there was just a little more sun!

Assaggetti Haymarket - Burrata with Tomato

The polenta WAS splendidly messy, oozing with cheese and served in a small baking dish.

messy polenta - assaggetti, piccadilly circus

Really quite a good way to start a meal.


Piccadilly circus - assaggetti-black risotto

Of our mains, the black risotto with cuttlefish was a little disappointing and watery but my Tuscan sausages were exactly what I wanted on a chilly day in May, beautifully meaty and served on a bed of kale.  I really enjoyed  the aubergine stew too, which was rich and warm and which I would happily have eaten with just a chunk of focaccia.

assaggetti, piccadilly circus

Service was friendly and informative and on a wet Wednesday lunchtime, the place was busy without being over crowded.

assaggetti - haymarket, St James

Assaggetti is just off Picadilly Circus almost opposite the Haymarket theatre and well positioned for pre-theatre or post-theatre dining.  The menu is perfect if you are looking for light, informal food.  Though this is by no means a gourmet experience, pricing reflects that.  By Central London standards most dishes on the menu are very reasonable, with our mains around £10 and with the sides and small plates all less that £6.  And,  thankfully, the drinks menu is also exceptionally reasonable which, in my experience can be a rare combination.  On balance I think the small dishes were better presented and better value than our mains – and more fun to order and eat too – and I wish I’d tried the pizzettine;)

Disclosure:  We dined at Assaggetti as guests of the restaurant.

Assaggetti is on 71 Haymarket, St James’s

Assaggetti on Urbanspoon

3.5 / 5 stars     
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    • says

      The polenta was divine. I think I’d put the restaurant into ‘great for a light lunch when shopping or pre-theatre’ but everything I ate myself was good, my friend’s black risotto WAS a bit watery, but then the last time we ordered that dish it was at Zucca!!

  1. Sarah James says

    In Venice they drink the Aperol with Prosecco (or Campari and Prosecco) As you can imagine, I rather liked that!

    I’ve looked at the restaurant a couple of times when we’ve been to the Harold Pinter theatre, so will give it a go next time.

    • says

      It might well have been mixed with Prosecco, I was drinking neat fizz, so I didn’t do more than have a quick taste!

      The restaurant is rather better than most along Haymarket and I think well suited to pre-theatre.

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