Italy is easily my favourite European country and Mr S and I try and visit a least once a year. I can’t get enough of delicious Italian food which is why I’m so excited that there’s now a little slice of Italy in Knightsbridge.
Harry’s Dolce Vita is the latest opening for Caprice Restaurants, a group that encompasses some of London’s best long-standing restaurants. Think classics such as Scott’s, The Ivy, J Sheekey and 34 Mayfair – London stalwarts that have stood the test of time for good reason. Excellent food, service, decor and location – and Harry’s Dolce Vita is no exception
Located (very) conveniently right next to Harrods, London’s most famous departments store, it’s within stumbling distance of a new pair of shoes or handbag. In fact you can celebrate a new fabulous purchase with a lunch and a Bellini at Harry’s!
The interiors are just gorgeous and take to your back to an era of 1960s Italian glamour. Honestly, I felt like I was in a movie or riding the luxurious Orient Express! With butterscotch leather seats, brilliant brass fixtures and glittering Murano glass, it’s certainly an authentic feeling of the Italian sweet life!
It was hard to choose what to have from the menu as everything looks good but fortunately my companions were happy to share! It’s actually been devised by Argentinian-born Diego Cardoso whose early life and culinary preferences were influenced by his Italian grandparents. Later he worked under Angela Harnett at the Connaught and after a stint in the USA and Dubai, he returned to the UK as Head Chef of Michelin-starred Murano.
I firmly believe that you can tell a good restaurant by the bread – and I think it’s even more important in an Italian restaurant. The garlic and rosemary flatbread was sheer perfection, with just the right amount of salt and a drizzle of Harry’s olive oil. The oil is a special blend that has been created for the restaurant made with organic olives grown on an agriculturally sustainable estate in hills of Maremma. The care taken of the olive trees ensures an even better taste and fruity fragrance. We were also served arancini balls, decadently filled with truffle and parmesan – the perfect little bites. There’s plenty of other options for cicchetti – Venetian tapas – and I can’t wait to return to try the tuna pizzetta and the zucchini fritti.
For me, the very best Italian food is in the form of simple, classic dishes using the very best ingredients. And that pretty much sums up the food at Harry’s Dolce Vita as all ingredients are sourced from specialists in their field. For me the simple chargrilled vegetables salad was my favourite dish as the Mediterranean vegetables were just full of flavour and enhanced with crushed pine nuts, basil, lemon and parmesan pangrattato. A refreshing Caprese salad with buffalo mozzarella, vine ripened tomatoes and fresh basil leaves was again dressed with Harry’s olive oil and a really delicious tuna tonnato with shaved fennel, lemon and herb dressing with crispy capers was a final light dish in the antipasti course.
For main course, I stuck with light options and chose the chargrilled seabass fillet with fennel, courgette, lemon thyme, lemon and olive oil which was beautifully cooked. My companion’s linguine vongole was presented in a copper pan and had been handmade and lightly coated in a sauce of white wine, garlic, chilli and parsley. But I was taken by surprise that my favourite dish was actually the chicken – not something I’d usually order but the roast half chicken was hearty and succulent with truffle sauce, sautéed mushrooms, garlic and rosemary – seriously the perfect cold day option.
I didn’t try one for myself but I saw the pizza on other tables and they really looked amazing. The dough is actually proved for 72 hours which enhances the flavour and texture of the crust.
Isn’t this just the cutest dessert you ever saw! And it’s not only cute, it’s super delicious too – my favourite dessert of the trio. Harry’s Toadstool – the shell is made from white chocolate and it’s on a stalk of mascarpone mousse, iced vanilla parfait and pistachio biscotti crunch. Fresh raspberries sit at the base and a warm pistachio sauce is poured on the plate to accompany it.
The other two desserts were my perennial Italian favourites, a Tiramisu made with espresso coffee and rum soaked savoiardi sponge biscuits and dusted valrhona bitter cocoa powder alongside vanilla cream pannacotta with blood orange sauce and black pepper tuile.
As soon as I walked into Harry’s Dolce Vita, I announced I would be coming back soon and the excellent food served to guarantee that. I really loved this restaurant and everything about it (food, service, decor, location) make it a no-brainer. Another firm success from Caprice Group.
Harry’s Dolce Vita
27-31 Basil Street
020 3940 1020
I was a guest of Harry’s Dolce Vita for a press lunch.