One Pall Mall welcomed Bardo St James’s this October: a plush and decadent restaurant as grand as its SW1 address. From nightclub entrepreneur Luca Maggiora who has sharpened his skill set to delve into the world of restaurants; the 11,000 square foot restaurant unveils an immersive dining destination for luxurious Italian cuisine.
Graziano Bonacina, (formerly head chef at Sette in the Bulgari Hotel) executes authenticity at Bardo St James’s by sourcing much of its produce from Italy, whilst also ticking those expected sustainability boxes by working with some of the UK’s finest local producers.
With 25 years of experience behind him, Graziano’s latest culinary cultivation here at Bardo St James’s is the fine-dining restaurant’s menu that will evolve with the seasons, all whilst shining a spotlight on indulgent Italian flavours – (think rich butter, fresh tomato and plenty of truffle). This is combined with adding a contemporary approach to his cooking by including plenty of plant-based dishes to cater to the city’s modern-day audience across the 150-capacity restaurant.
Dishes to note on Graziano’s menu include the ever popular and creamy burrata, served with a fig puree, pickled radicchio, sweet Italian chioggia beetroot and white balsamic, or the ‘frittura di calamari e gamberi’. Whilst other hero dishes include the ‘tagliolini cacio pepe’ with porcini and hazelnut crumble; or the fitting rich lobster tagliatelle with Calabrian chilly, all’acqua pazza (poached white fish) and black crumble.
Carefully crafted main dishes, which we decided to share, include Bardo’s version of caramelised black cod, ‘controfilleto di manzo’ (beef cut) with celeriac puree, bacon grapes and salsa verde; and ‘cotoletta alla Milanese’ – aka a breaded veal cutlet, patate sabbiose (bread crumb potatoes) with roasted datterino tomatoes. Meanwhile classic Italian desserts include tiramisu with marsala ice cream and chocolate, and roche gianduja semifreddo.
The lavish restaurant has brought on board the talented mixologist Luigi Milone who has crafted a cocktail list to match the menu that revisits Italian classics in a fresh and exciting way. Signature cocktails include the ‘Dolcevita’ – made with Belvedere vodka, fresh grapes, honey and prosecco; or the ‘Sophia’ with Tanqueray No. Ten, Italicus, bergamot juice, elderflower cordial and a violette foam.
Diverse in its offering, this high-energy destination restaurant offers plenty of excuses to return, whether it be intimate private meet ups, to larger corporate events. In the centre is the large main dining space which is accompanied by an intimate open kitchen and a string of secluded booths that look out over the polished long marble bar – ideal for people watching. Other counterparts to Bardo St James’s include a walk-in wine cellar with an extensive fine wine selection, whisky room, private dining room and private lounge concealed beyond.
The décor has also been designed as a reflection of the luxe Italian menu. The elegant interior features polished marble countertops, opulent pieces of Italian furniture and expensive looking art, finished with sparkling chandeliers throughout. This sets the stage for Bardo St James’s resident live Italian band each evening, adding to the theatrical experience with guest appearances.
Founder Luca Maggiora has over a decade of experience working in London’s exciting night life industry. This means he knows how to bring places to life that is a catalyst of excitement and entertainment. Pivoting his talents into new realms in light of the pandemic, Bardo St James’s is the shining example of his new journey into the world of restaurants – channelling his expertise and knowledge into creating a new place that fuses fine dining with late night entertainment and Italian cuisine. With this combined, it has created a glamourous new landmark for the London dining scene that maintains a world-class reputation in one of the city’s most prized areas.
Address: 4 Suffolk Pl, London SW1Y 4HX
Phone: 020 3828 2487