It's started to become a tradition that whenever my Italian friend Federica visits me from New York we end up having dinner in Cecconi's. We always pretend to make an effort to think of somewhere else to go, somewhere that's within walking distance of her hotel and my office, as if we really should be a little more imaginative....but we always end up there, perched at the bar because we didn't reserve a table in advance.
She claims it's the only place she can get a good morning Espresso....I claim it's the only place that does a good Veal Milanese.....but it's not just that, there's something retro about the decor, the layout, the service, the menu....you almost feel like you're on the set of Mad Men.
Being two foodies we wouldn't keep going back unless it was worth it, which it most certainly is, for dinner at least. We never book so we always sit at the bar, which we don't mind, it gives us the perfect position to keep checks on who's arriving and an eye on the cute waiters preparing cocktails. The bread is fabulous as is the italian olive oil, both of which arrive within minutes of being seated, a big plus for me.
We opted for some olives whilst we perused the menu, even though we knew exactly what we wanted..... please note their intense shade of green, especially given it was dark and I don't use flash....
We were both more than a little disappointed to hear that the Veal Milanese was sold out.....especially after thinking about it all day....but thankfully they had another one of my favourite dishes available: Calve's Liver, served with pancetta and spinach. Melt-in-the-mouth is an understatement of how good this was.....sweet and tender enough to feel just complemented by the salty, crispy pancetta.
Super crunchy roast potatoes with fresh rosemary.....amazing every time
Federica opted for Beef Tagliata with Roast Artichokes which were both done to perfection.
We managed to squeeze a dessert in, of course: Blood Orange Tart with Mascarpone Ice-Cream and Blood Orange syrup. A beautiful buttery pastry with an, unfortunately, slightly overly sweet filling, came with the creamiest gelati and heavenly bitter syrup.
The following morning we popped in for a speedy breakfast, I can thoroughly vouch for the coffee, but, alas, I confess I was let down by the croissants....a real pity, especially given that La Duree and Fortnum's are about 50 yards away. However, I still plan on coming back for the Veal sometime soon.....
Cecconi's, 5a Burlington Gardens, London W1S 3EP, Tel +44 (0)20 7434 1500
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