Tucked on a traditional terracotta street in Knightsbridge is Alfredo Russo’s fine-dining restaurant The Franklin. On the ground level of the hotel that backs onto the private, residential garden, the bar and restaurant allows for an exclusive glimpse into the desirable lifestyles of those who call the picturesque Egerton Gardens home.
Set within a Victorian townhouse, the intimate restaurant which seats up to just 30 people embodies an opulent Italian palazzo with an art deco interior from designer Anouska Hempe. This includes polished slate grey surfaces with marbled details and Venetian mirrors which set the scene for a glamourous, refined environment for Alfredo Russo’s simple yet sophisticated dishes.
The domain of the Michelin-starred chef, Russo’s culinary inspiration is taken from the Piedmont region in North West Italy where he was born. An area of distinct culinary style centred around utilising locally sourced ingredients and produce, his heritage is the foundation of his food, combined with surprising flavour combinations for a menu of exciting Italian plates.
Hand in hand with the restaurant is the 1920’s style cocktail and champagne bar which invites diners to enjoy its collection of creative cocktails before moving into its neighbouring dining room. Blending an extensive list of classic and signature cocktails, each is created by the hotel’s skilled mixologists. Inspired by its surroundings is the ‘Egerton Garden’ fruit cocktail of apple juice, mint, ginger ale and lemon.
Meanwhile ‘The Franklin Sour’ is made with Xanté, Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royale and spiced bitters or the ‘Peanut Butter Russian’ concoction which blends Sipsmith Vodka, Caffé Borgheti Italian coffee liqueur and peanut butter. For a classic start, there is also a broad wine and champagne list with top-shelf spirits and craft beers and ales.
In true Italian style, next door in the dining room, Russo’s menu starts with antipasti dishes. This includes aubergine with confit cherry tomato, creamy burrata and a crisp parmesan biscuit, a slow-cooked south coast octopus with creamy potato foam, capers and Cerignola olives. Additionally, a lean meat beef tartare from the exceptionally lean Fassona Piedmontese breed is served with fresh black truffle.
This smoothly leads to the primi dishes of pasta and risotto. Russo’s in particular includes gnocchi with violin pumpkin, guinea fowl jus and chestnuts, a classic spaghetti cacio e pepe and a beautiful risotto of Cornish langoustine and burrata. Meanwhile, main dishes include line-caught sea bass served with tomatoes, basil, ash and Jerusalem artichoke and slow-cooked veal with celeriac purée, artichoke, parsley cream and a red wine sauce.
Desserts range from a classic tiramisu through to Crema Caramellata, fresh wild berries and strawberry ice cream, layered with soft caramelised cream, and a Valhrona mille-feuille with mandarin ice cream.
The hotel’s quintessential setting makes it a magnet for afternoon tea, (and as they do with their cocktails) the team are always in search of new ways to offer new ways to present this British tradition. Taking inspiration just across the street from the V&A where the recent ‘Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser’ exhibition was on display (taken from Lewis Carroll’s iconic Alice in Wonderland) – The Franklin has recently created an imaginative twist on what a modern-day Alice may eat after her adventures in Wonderland.
The menu, aptly named ‘The Alice at The Franklin’ offers ham and oak smoked cheddar sandwiches with grain mustard, and a fluffy bun filled with crab meat, soya mayo, avocado, cucumber and zesty lime. Whilst for something a little different is a soft pitta filled with beetroot, creamy burrata and bresaola. Alice’s story is mainly told through the sweet treats this menu offers. Notably, a red velvet heart cake filled with a classic vanilla butter cream and raspberry compote, topped with a chocolate disc and a gold chocolate crown, inspired by the Queen of Hearts.
Taken from the Mad Hatter is the Brownie Hat: a chocolate top hat filled with pecan sablé, kataifi pastry, brownie sponge and soft pecan cream. Decorated with a white rabbit and caterpillar is a carrot caramel cupcake filled with orange sable, caramel mousse and meringue. Alice’s famous ‘drink me’ moment is served in the form of pomegranate, mango and lime juice. The menu is served with teas from Camellia’s Tea House, with a choice of champagne.
Address: 24 Egerton Gardens, London, SW3 2DB
Phone: +44 (0)20 7584 5533