Want a slice of the Balearics without the nasty plane ride? Head to Dover Street, where hot-as-fire restaurant IT has made a home for itself on the former site of an art gallery. Spearheaded by none other than Gennaro Esposito, who has bragging rights to two Michelin stars at La Torre del Saracino on the Neapolitan coast, IT features simple Italian cuisine at its most finessed with the DNA of an Ibizan restaurant. Yes, there will be DJs.
No expenses have been spared on the dining room. Pride of place goes to the statement bar, which splices art deco with space age inspiration to create a giant work of slate grey steel and cool blue neon that funnels upwards toward the ceiling like a giant parlophone. Slatted ceilings open up into golden open kitchen pass over-hung with golden heating lamps so you can get a front-row seat for some scintillating culinary action. Slick velvet chairs and banquettes ensconce you in a classy but comfortable setting from which to enjoy the refreshing Italian cooking on display.
We commenced our meal with an acid test of classic Italian fare - running the gamut from aubergine parmigiana to zucchini fritti to a frittura mista that went in on softshell crab. All were performed with precision, without a trace of excess grease. Beef polpettina with a lively tomato sauce were garnished with fresh ricotta. A rainbow-hued crudo of tuna, salmon and yellowtail showed off exact knifework. A Genovese paccheri arrived imbued with a wonderfully savoury onion meat sauce. Monkfish with clams and friggitelli sauce was equally adept.
For a restaurant that is as foodie as it is sceney, IT London knocks it out of the park.
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