Mayfair Italian Dining – Camillo Benso:
Milan, the Italian centre of fashion and design has a distinct sense of style and elegance. And the food is excellent. I have just spent a day there en-route back from the Italian Lakes. So when I was asked to review Camillo Benso, the new Mayfair outpost of a well-known Milanese restaurant, it seemed a great idea. And there’s something quite fitting about opening a Milanese restaurant in the heart of fashionable Mayfair.
The restaurant is situated just off Oxford St near Bond St tube and offers “a selection of timeless Italian classics created using the finest and freshest products delivered daily from Italy, yet at prices not often seen in this most exclusive of areas.”
The interior of this Italian restaurant is dark and sexy with polished woods and metal inlays creating a perfect atmosphere for the early evening aperitivo offer, a date night, or just hanging out with friends. I’m sure the eponymous Camillo Benso, an Italian politician famed for his involvement in the reunification of the country, would approve.
We scanned the menu over a couple of drinks. It had the classic Italian construction of Antipasti, Primi, Secondi (from the sea and from the bone) and Dolci, alongside a selection of raw fish dishes, pizzas, soups, salads and vegetables.
But, back to those drinks. A Bellini Cavour blended peach purée, with cassis and prosecco and had a tarter flavour than a normal Bellini which can often be over sweet. In honour of my liver, I went for the Raspberry Savoia, an enervating mix of raspberry, pomegranate and cranberry.
I don’t often review bread but this was sensational. The recipes come from chef Niko Romito from the three-star Michelin restaurant, Reale, in Italy’s Abruzzo region. This is a man who has his own bread laboratory and says “Bread, in its simplicity, is complex, complete and profound”. Who am I to disagree?… The focaccia, spiked with olives, tomatoes and rosemary, was fluffy and light whilst moist with olive oil, and the brown had an intensely flavoured crust and a creamy crumb.
Burrata from the Antipasti menu had a deliciously sour creaminess offset by the acidity of the various heritage tomatoes that surrounded it.
Rich chunks of Red Tuna Tartare had a deep and meaty flavour, with little blobs of beetroot, avocado and pumpkin for additional gastronomic excitement.
After our cocktails, we moved on to wine. A glass of white Monteluna Vermentino di Gallura DOCG Funtanaliras 2017 was mineral but had creamy butterscotch notes and the red Era Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC 2016 was bursting with cherry flavours.
The lobster linguine was a plateful of juicy tender lobster plated with the al-dente pasta slathered with a tomato sauce. It’s the sort of plate of food I fantasise about eating on a clifftop restaurant in the Isle of Capri. And now it’s in Mayfair…
A generous helping of sweet tasting black cod came with cherry tomatoes, olives, capers and oregano. It was revelatory and pleasurable to have black cod in an Italian context.
Veal cutlet (cotoletta) alla Milanese was very tender if a bit over salted for me with a light batter and served on a bed of roasted potatoes.
After this Milanese feast it was clearly time for dessert – a caprese classica with chocolate and almond flour was intense but light with the red berries adding a touch of sweetness.
There’s a real sense of trying to do things properly at Camillo Benso. It had only been open for two days when we visited, however service at this Italian Restaurant was assured, the cooking was flawless and I loved the focus on the quality of ingredients. If you are looking for a stylish restaurant in Mayfair and love Italian food then you should try Camillo Benso.
We dined as guests of Camillo Benso restaurant
8-10 Blenheim Street,
ondon W1S 1LJ
0207 629 8889