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Alloro, a highly sophisticated Italian restaurant in the heart of Mayfair

Alloro
19-20 Dover Street
London W1
Tel: 020 7495 4768

Modern, smart and sexy. That’s the vibe at Alloro, a highly sophisticated Italian restaurant in the heart of Mayfair. With its patrons (who mostly appeared to be testosterone filled Italian businessman) looking like they’d stepped straight from an Armani advertising campaign. The interior is simple and contemporary, with clean lines and a use of wood throughout, whilst half etched front windows add disgression and privacy. Tables are well-spaced with starched linen tablecloths, fine-stemmed wine glasses and comfortable chairs. There is also a busy and bustling bar at the front which was packed to the gills on the night of my visit.

In the kitchen is Turin born Executive Chef Daniel Camera, who perhaps does not have the notoriety of some of the more celebrated Italian chefs residing here. However, judging by his busy restaurant and ex-pat clientele, I expect it is only a matter of time before he is revered.

As it was such a hot and humid evening a classic Bellini (fresh peach juice and champagne) was the perfect aperitif. Our dining experience then commenced with a little pre-starter, a refreshing summer gaspacho served with fruit that at once cooled and refreshed our palate. This came with accompanying cheese and herb breadsticks, artistically wrapped in a linen napkin.

The menu is divided into four sections. I began with a salad of crayfish with asparagus and avocado. It arrived picture perfect, with plenty of fanned crunchy asparagus spears, concassed tomato flecks, creamy avocado and juicy crayfish. The accompanying dressing being vigorous on the palate. This I soaked up with plenty of speciality breads that were regularly replenished. My guest’s pan-fried goats cheese looked mouth-watering. Presented on a large glass platter it was almost seared on the outside with a soft, luscious interior. Sitting on a bed of fresh spinach leaves, he said the softness of the cheese was interspersed with a textured crunchy middle whilst tiny caramelised onion shards added bite and texture.

Throughout the evening the sommelier helped guide us through the extensive wine list which is renowned for having some of the finest selections outside of Italy. We began with a slightly fizzy and flinty, Cayega 2007 Roero Arneis Tenota Carretta Piemonte £35.00. A easy drinking white wine with earthy overtones and a rich and lush interior.

Skipping the pasta dishes for fear of overload, we moved straight onto the main course. I had a plate of monkfish, served pan-fried with chorizo and sautéed potatoes. Served with a saffron mayonnaise that decorated the plate like a piece of modern art. It was a hearty dish, the monkfish holding its own against the strong flavours all vying for attention on my palate.

My guest ordered one of the specials of the day. A duck breast cooked exactly as he’d asked came perfectly pink and thinly sliced with accompanying grilled figs adding texture. A rice salad with copious nuggets, including chives, tomatoes, rocket leaves and orange zest added a summery freshness. To drink, we had a bottle of Guidalberto 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon San Guido Toscana, £65.00, which proved a robust full-bodied accompaniment.

Struggling to find room for pudding we shared a hot chocolate fondant with its delectable lush gooey interior, the rich chocolate and cold vanilla ice cream pairing superbly together. Served on a rectangular frosted glass plate it came pleasingly served with berries.

I thoroughly enjoyed my evening at Alloro. It’s the sort of restaurant one usually can’t find outside Italy. Serving authentic cooking in fine surroundings resulting in a memorable experience.

Louise Elgin. July 2008

Two courses £29.50
Three courses £35.00
Four courses £39.00

House wine £18.50 a bottle.

Alloro
19-20 Dover Street
London W1
Tel: 020 7495 4768

 

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