Restaurant Review: Babbo in Mayfair, London
Considering Babbo is owned by Tatiana Joorabchian, the woman whose husband’s chosen career path revolves around part-owning South America’s finest footballers and bringing them over to Europe for exorbitant fees and salaries, I almost expected Mayfair’s Babbo to convey the arrogance of our own Premiership footballers; swanky, cocksure and out of touch with the common man.
Yet inside Babbo, with the in-part exposed brick walls, open wine racks and low lying chandeliers, one thing is for sure: this place is too classy for the English footballer.
Not that they wouldn’t understand the menu mind you. Head chef Douglas Santi has avoided the arrogance of giving fanciful names to ordinary dishes, preferring instead to mark the fanciful dishes with ordinary names.
The lasagne is deemed the house speciality thanks to the ‘secret recipe’ which has been passed down the generations for over 100 years – and it’s certainly worth trying. Yet while succeeding to render all future homemade lasagnes redundant in comparison, it’s by no means the standout dish on the menu.
There’s the undeniably tempting ‘Roast Suckling Pig’, which must do a killing by name alone and is yours for £22.50, the Mediterranean style steamed sea bream, which the waiters serve at the table from a spaceship of tin foil, and the roasted veal rack with porcini and morel mushrooms and asparagus.
And that’s after you’ve sampled the quite stunning “Lardo di Colonnata”– sea scallop medallions with potato and leek cream – starter, priced at just £13.90.
The standout main for me though had to be the traditionally cooked Italian Fiorentina beef, offering everything you could ask for in a fine piece of meat. Reminiscent of the beef in Turin’s Ristorante del Cambio (if you’ve never been to Turin, this place is worth the trip alone), it was succulent and delicious, a true taste of Italy.
And just when you think the night couldn’t peak any higher, Babbo a dessert that will blow your expectations out of the water. “Semifreddo al amedei crocolata com gianduitto fritti” is what it’s called; essentially rich warm chocolate balls coated in delicate and light crispy pastry.
Complementing the dessert of dreams was the delightful sweet creamy burata caprese; a mascarpone and ice cream infusion, sheathed in the ice cream skin and appearing somewhat like a large cut of fresh mozzarella cheese.
The Babbo menu is quick to remind us that Babbo in Italian translates as ‘The Daddy.’ So to head chef Douglas Santi, the honour is all yours.
Address: 39 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4JQ, UK