Babbo is like stepping back into the past but in a good way ... white pictures on the walls, and ornate chandeliers and light fittings
Babbo apparently means Dad in Italian. Babbo the restaurant in swanky Albemarle Street in Mayfair doesn't feel in any way 'dad-like', but it does have a certain understated elegance and refinement. So nothing like my dad.
As a restaurant Babbo is like stepping back into the past but in a good way. White tablecloths, black and white pictures on the walls, and ornate chandeliers and light fittings frame the hues of faded greens and browns of the furniture and fittings. The ambiance is more polite chit chat with a just a hint of romantic canoodling, but my goodness it’s quiet. Every time I spoke I felt like I was addressing the whole restaurant.
The menu feels very Tuscan with veal, lamb, beef cheeks and a monstrous T Bone steak propping up the carne section. However my companions and I were all in a pesce mood so fried squid, artichoke and lemon basil mayonnaise and seared scallops served with lentil, purple kale, scorched onion, caviar and red pepper oil, fleshed out the antipasti and secondi sections of our meal. The former were crispy on the outside and soft in the centre. The latter were also cooked with a deft hand. Both dishes were understated and possibly a shade underseasoned for my palate, but were nevertheless very good. Among the many dishes that crossed our table we shared Gran Riserva Parmigiano cheese and black truffle, Burrata cheese, tomato and basil, and Beef carpaccio, parmesan cheese, capers from Pantelleria Island and mustard sauce. Good portion size - neither too big or small - and full of flavour. The house prosecco was a treat to kick off the evening and the accompanying white wines were well-paired with our dishes.
The service, as with the food, was understated but elegant. Again, nothing at all like my dad. But perhaps I’m missing the point. Babbo is not meant to be anything like yours or my father. Babbo is meant to be a fine-dining, intimate, yet relaxed Italian restaurant in the heart of London’s most affluent area. Babbo is staking its claim to be the area's Italian daddy.
From * to *****
Wining and dining ****
Serving and pouring ****
Partying and boozing **
Giardinetto, 39-40 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4JQ
020 3205 1099