Published on January 15th, 2015 | by Gavin0
Summary: Bocconcino offers a beautiful setting without feeling elitist and you won’t feel hard done by when the bill arrives
Nowhere else in Europe says ‘Millionaire’s Playground’ more than Mayfair. Walking along Berkeley Street, every person I pass in a bespoke suit or designer heels has me wondering what it must be like having the world as your personal theme park. I’m daydreaming so much that I walk straight passed my destination, Bocconcino pizzeria on the corner of Berkeley Square. An odd location for a pizza parlour you may imagine, bearing in mind that its neighbours include Nobu, Novikov, and Benares- but after my evening here, it fits as snugly as a hand to glove.
Bocconcino is marketed as a pizzeria but the moment you walk through the door, it is anything but. Dimly lit and surrounded by large mirrored walls, it certainly looks the part and still has that new car smell as it only opened for business a couple of weeks prior to my trip. Looking at the menu, it is more akin to a ristorante rather than a pizzeria, with more than sufficient meat, fish, and salad options available for those wishing to avoid carbs- they obviously know the Mayfair crowd well!
We begin light with tuna carpaccio (£13), a favourite Italian delicacy which can’t be faulted and glad to say the chef hasn’t tampered with tradition keeping it nice and simple. Together with the safe option, we also order the more ambitious vitello tonnato (£12), a popular summer dish consisting of cold veal covered in tuna sauce. This isn’t a dish I’ve tried before but being a veal lover, I was fond of the dish, but given the powerful fish flavours, it’s aimed more towards the tuna admirer.
Next up, we get right into the signature pizza made with Black Truffles (£20). Unlike certain truffle pizzas I’ve tried, the chef hasn’t gone OTT with the fungi, so it retains the characteristics of a good wood fired pizza. The base is superb too, offering the right amount of crunch, without being too charred- posh pizza at its best.
When searching for a pasta dish, what stood out for me was calamari and bottarga with black ink spaghetti (£15). To be honest, it was the thought of trying squid ink infused spaghetti that attracted me towards it, and although the ink spaghetti doesn’t really affect the taste, it looks pretty darn amazing when it arrives. The fresh, homemade al dente pasta really makes a difference; offering a complete meal when combined with the firm calamari that blended surprisingly well with the fish.
Although we’ve had some fantastic dishes, the best was certainly saved for last. Words can’t really do justice to just how good the pan fried sole (£25) tastes. Not over-seasoned and cooked to the perfect crisp on the outside, while remaining light and delicate in the middle; superlative in every way, you must order even if you don’t like fish, it’s that good!
If after all this food you are still in the mood for dessert (I declined until I saw the menu), then you can’t go wrong with the passion fruit cheesecake (£7). I’ve had many a lacklustre cheesecake in recent years, but when done properly, the result is akin to your first kiss; unforgettable.
When you’ve had such a memorable meal, it’s difficult to critique anything about Bocconcino’s apart from the slightly robotic staff. Although extremely attentive, the atmosphere maybe lacked the warmth of some of my favourite Italian ristorantes; but given they’ve only been open a week, and we are on the most exclusive street in Europe, it’s to be expected that the staff may be a bit on edge.
Before coming to Bocconcino, I categorised it as an overpriced pizzeria catering to a very niche audience. Granted you can go elsewhere for an equally good meal for a fraction of the price, but for a special occasion, Bocconcino offers a beautiful setting without feeling elitist and you won’t feel hard done by when the bill arrives.
Bocconcino, 19 Berkeley St, W1J 8EDShare This Post