I never really liked prosecco. Call me a snob but it always smacked of all-inclusive holiday resorts with their endless supply of (mostly low quality) alcohol. Or something that hen parties drank - often at the aforementioned resorts. However I’ve always been impartial to a good Bellini, which of course has prosecco as its core. So a new bar that promises great Bellinis based on great prosecco is always going to catch my eye.
Cartizze Bar in Mayfair takes its name from the hills in Italy which consists of 260 acres of vines, owned by some 140 growers. The prosecco produced from its grapes is widely considered to be the Grand Cru of its class. Cartizze the bar has similarly grand aspirations as evident through its glorious Art Deco inspired interior with black and chrome plated walls, and delicious blue leather seating. This is a very good looking bar that has a drinking den’s hint of decadence. We were ushered into the side bar which with its fireplace and low seating felt much like an Italian take on a country pub snug. On a wet October Wednesday there were relatively few other drinkers – but those that had braved the weather were a heady mix of glamorous, well-heeled Mayfairites and pretty-young-things. And us.
As is my wont, I took the charming waitress’s recommendations, and started with the Amor y Amargo with amaretto, cynar, and apricot liqueur. A big drink, that did the trick. My friend tried the barrel-aged negroni, something that I’ve avoided after a big night with the Northerner and some Italian friends in Florence. He declared it absolutely delicious and particularly liked the dry orange slide. It was better than I expected but still a negroni. Given the bar's name I felt obliged to try and the house prosecco. This was a little bit light but reassuringly dry. Very good in other words. Back to the cocktails and my blood orange bellini was superb and the truffled liquorice sour was a triumph. And I don’t even like liquorice. The Sicilian Gimlet was good but lacking a bit of wallop (Tom’s words). The Olive Oil Gin Fizz was lovely, albeit a bit heavy on the foam. After eating far too many truffled salted peanuts then is healthy, we tried the Orkney Isles scallops and smoked pancetta in a brioche bun. Effectively mini scallop burgers they were lovely, although at £14 for three, not exactly cost efficient.
What I like most about Cartizze Bar, is that it’s reassuringly a drinker’s bar. One that you could imagine settling in for a good old-fashioned cocktail-induced boozing session. Also if you like prosecco you'll love it. If you don't, you'll reconsider it. I certainly have.
From * to *****
Schmoozing and boozing ****
Flirting and frolicking ***
Serving and pouring ***
4 Lancashire Court
London, W1S 1EY