Two of London’s hottest new Italian restaurant openings

IT London

After establishing legendary status on the Ibiza scene, hugely successful fine dining and socialising concept, IT, has very excitingly landed in London.

It launched in the heart of Mayfair in November to – in the words of IT founder Alessio Matrone – “give the city a totally different experience where fine Mediterranean cuisine meets the Balearic beat of Ibiza.”

The IT team has had a busy 2019 as London follows hot on the heels of IT’s launch in Milan earlier this year. Less than seven months after opening, IT in Milan secured its first Michelin star this November (London, be excited). This accolade speaks to the success of IT’s unique concept, where the Mediterranean spirit, music and late nights in good company are as much a part of the experience as the exquisite food.

IT’s London restaurant, located in a former Dover Street art gallery, will also be helmed by Chef Gennaro Esposito, of two Michelin-starred Torre del Saracino, who currently oversees all three IT restaurants. It was at Torre del Saracino, in Gennaro’s hometown of Vico Equense on the coast of Sorrento, that he first worked with Adriano Rausa who comes from IT in Milan to take up the Head Chef position.

Diners can enjoy a mix of gourmet Mediterranean dishes showcasing the authentic flavours of Esposito’s southern Italy. Please, please try his acclaimed scabbardfish 80’s style, Nocellara olive soup. It is, without doubt, the best starter I have had this year. The menu also features the chef’s signature Spaghetto al Pomodoro, made with IT’s homemade Vesuvio tomato sauce, and a selection of IT’s speciality pizzas with their famously thin crusts. The specials board – at the time of writing – included a whole lobster, which was sensationally cooked and came with a trio of different condiments. IT very much specialises in its seafood, so I would definitely lean towards sampling the shellfish.

In addition to a bar and restaurant accommodating over 100 seated guests, there’s an elegant semi-private dining room, featuring a dramatic skylight – the perfect venue for private events. The upper level’s separate space also offers all the exclusivity of a members’ club without the need for membership. Entrance will be by invitation only and a ban on photography will ensure guests’ absolute privacy.

Similarly to IT’s sister restaurants, music is at the core of the London experience. The venue offers a carefully curated soundtrack, which brings the energy of Ibiza to Mayfair with smooth daytime beats and hypnotic evening grooves. In addition to daily DJ sets, IT will host regular events with music from world-class DJs.

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Chucs Café Chelsea

Another collection that’s also strongly established its name is Chucs and they’ve recently opened their latest outpost – Chucs Café Chelsea, on Lower Sloane Street. The new site marks Chucs’ third venture into casual dining, following the successful opening of its flagship café concept on South Kensington’s Old Brompton Road earlier this year.

Chucs Café Chelsea is the sixth London location for the brand overall, with their other sites including restaurants in Mayfair, Westbourne Grove and Belgravia, as well as Chucs Café Serpentine.  This ambitious expansion is led by Chairman Graziano Arricale and Executive Chef Director, Simon Henbery.

Chucs Café Chelsea is open seven days a week and operates a full service café menu of the highest quality. The breakfast options include a range of fresh pastries, healthy bowls, such as House Granola with Pomegranate and Yoghurt, as well as savory plates such as Chalk Farm Smoked Salmon, Scrambled Eggs and Sourdough. The All Day Menu begins with a selection of Italian Cicchetti, including a delectable Truffle Arancini, followed by updated classics such as Burrata with Black Olive, Fennel and Orange.

When it comes to the mains Chucs Café Chelsea definitely leans towards grill cooking (never a bad thing) with an Italian twist. The Chucs classics are all there, such as Bigoli Cacio e Pepe, Melanzane alla Parmigiana, the Club Sandwich and (of course), the Chucs Burger. Definitely order a steak – you won’t regret it – or the Chicken Milanese, which is both light and filling at the same time.

A large majority of dishes will be available to take away and given the location, this is definitely going to be a popular spot for lunch on-the-go and office workers. Additional to-go offerings include authentic Italian paninis and focaccias, as well as light and healthy salads

With interiors designed by the renowned Fettle Studios, Chucs Café Chelsea is reminiscent of the brand’s previous establishments; warm wooden paneling creates a cosy coffee spot by day, capable of effortlessly transforming into an intimate dinner destination come evening, with its crushed velvet booths and twinkling candles.

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