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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  1. It looks great! Makes me hungry and I love the look of the polenta.

    • 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!!

  2. 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.

    • 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.

  3. I’ve been meaning to try this place, thanks for sharing the review!

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