Last Updated on February 24, 2020 by Fiona Maclean
Mayfair meets Ibiza at IT Restaurant London.
I wonder if the owners of IT London realise what an It girl is? A perfect fit for this, the third restaurant in the Italian IT group, each with menus from chef Gennaro Esposito, I suspect the name is an abbreviation for Italian rather than the definition I’m used to. But, IT London in Dover Street in the heart of Mayfair offers an upmarket fusion of fine dining and music from international DJs – and would be the perfect habitat for an It Girl. An invite to a press dinner was a good chance to check out the venue – and to test the kitchen. Large group dining (the 36 of us were seated in the private dining room at the rear of the restaurant), can be shambolic. Not here…the food served was spectacular and the restaurant even managed to cope with some unanticipated dietary requirements.
The semi-open kitchen was calm at 7 pm when we arrived and the bar impeccable and smart, with shiny brass and marble fittings
The private dining room at the back of IT London is light and airy, with plenty of space for 36 guests seated in groups of 6 or 8. Comfortable velvet-covered chairs and banquettes make this the kind of space where I’d be happy to party all night. And, I guess that’s part of the idea – there’s also an upstairs private lounge with seating for 30 or standing space for 60 – and with a 3 am late licence.
But, as always I was really there for the food and after checking out the pizza oven and the fish market I was getting hungry!
After a welcome cocktail and a basket of beautiful Italian breads, our first taste of IT arrived. The gourmet pizzas are one of the house specialities, with crisp thin crusts and delicate, perfectly balanced toppings. We tried a couple – I particularly enjoyed this Pizza Bianco with fresh chives and cherry tomatoes. I could easily see myself perched on a bar stool with a champagne cocktail in hand nibbling on one of these again.
Our next dish, Tartare di Zucchine – a courgette tartare with almond and basil, was good enough to make me think of turning vegetarian. Another light dish, I suspect the chefs are catering for the size zero clientele who must frequent this place.
Next, two fish courses – a delicious piquant alici a beccafico – crispy gratinated anchovy with a delicate orange sauce, pine nuts and raisins
And, a truly fabulous mouthful of King crab salad with an artichoke rose and avocado. I was genuinely impressed by both these delicate and well balanced dishes.
I lucked out a bit too as my plus one doesn’t eat crab. Her aubergine parmigiana though looked exceptionally fine.
Our pasta course was ravioli capresi – ravioli stuffed with ricotta and topped with pecorino cheese served with a light herby tomato sauce.
Of the dishes at IT London though, my own favourite was definitely the charcoal rack of lamb with tarallo cream, turnip greens and garlic sauce
Apart from stunning presentation, this dish won out for me by being perfectly cooked – with delicate pink flesh hidden by the charred exterior. And, a tarralo cream is a great example of Southern Italian cucina povera – a delicate puree made with tarralo breadsticks.
Finally, I was really impressed that the kitchen served this dish to around 36 of us almost simultaneously. Large group dining isn’t always the best way to showcase the capability of the kitchen – here they really do seem to have surpassed themselves.
We finished the meal with a moist walnut cake served with lime and olive oil icecream.
Another delicious dish that worked perfectly to round off the meal for me.
I’m often disappointed by the food served at press dinners and find it doesn’t match up to what the restaurant can do for individual diners. Here that certainly wasn’t the case – and I look forward to returning at a later date for more of that pizza!
IT restaurant London,
28-29 Dover Street,
London W1S 4LX
Sunday – Thursday 12pm – 12am
Friday – Saturday 12pm – 1am
Looking for something different? We love Coya – a Peruvian Restaurant just around the corner on Piccadilly. And, Atul Kochar’s Kanishka is a celebration of excellent and unusual food from the sister states of Northern India. For a night out, Palm Beach Casino offers a luxurious option in Mayfair with great food and drink to complement the tables. And, there are classics like Trader Vics where you won’t go wrong.