Not bad, but not great either
Dinner in Mayfair is always a mixed bag. Mixed nationalities, mixed jewels, mixed olives – and in Bocconcino’s case, seriously mixed-up décor. This is a restaurant that has puppets on the tables, swirly brown-beige carpets, a matching brown-beige ceiling and beige conference chairs.
This is fifty shades of beige. The staff, meanwhile, are dressed up in matching denim shirts and bowties. The kind of thing you’d see in a novelty American diner – not an upmarket Italian from a Russian oligarch. This is fifty shades of odd.
But we weren’t there for the décor, or the odd uniforms. We weren’t there for much conversation either, apparently. Becuase the proximity of the tables – at least in our case, we sat in the middle of the dining room – makes it very hard to hear your companion and tune your neighbours out. Especially when they’re Asian business men speaking very loudly to Russian clients.
The tables are large too, presumably to fit multiple dishes on comfortably, but add to the problem of acoustics.
At this point I’d love to tell you that all this was saved by the food. But I’d be lying. To start, we had the veal in tuna sauce, Piedmont style. This came out beige. A plate of sliced veal covered in a beige sauce. More beige among a sea of beige.
It tasted good though. Actually, it was better than good, but it would have been even better had the sauce been on the side, perhaps in a jug, with the veal laid out enticingly next to it. Nobody likes beige food.
With the veal we had the salmon tartare with anchovies and quail egg. This would have been far better had the anchovies not dominated the dish quite so much, but was good overall.
For the mains came black truffle pizza (at £20) and black ink spaghetti with calamari and bottarga – which is a salted, dried fish roe. And salty it was. Salty and fishy. Thankfully I like salty and fishy, though it was a bit much for my dinner companion.
The pizza was good. Not sure it was worth twenty quid, but was perfectly adequate nonetheless. Dessert was a rather uninspired creme brulee and New York style cheesecake. No prizes for innovation there. But both tasted delicious – particularly the cheesecake.
Dodgy table decorations aside, there is nothing wrong with Boccocino – and if you’re seated at one of the rather romantic looking alcove tables you might be in for a nice evening.
Just avoid the central floor and be prepared to pay a fair whack for food that your local Italian probably does just as well.
Rebecca dined as a guest at Bocconcino
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