Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pescatori, Charlotte Street

The world is your oyster at Pescatori, Fitzrovia

Sometimes the old ones really the very best and I found it an absolute pleasure to review this authentic Italian fish restaurant which has been standing a whole 57 years – way longer than the eateries which have sprung up around it.  

It was a warm summer’s evening when we visited Pescatori on Charlotte Street.  The area of town is one of my favourite’s and after a quick glass of Chablis in the Charlotte Street Hotel, we found the restaurant, perfectly placed just a short stroll away. 

The exterior is inviting, an authentic Italian al fresco terrace for outside dining, with patio doors fully flung open for that added ‘feels like you’re on holiday’ experience.  We were made to feel very welcome from the moment we arrived – it’s a family run restaurant and it definitely has that air about it.  I was also pleased to find we had a beautiful round booth table right at the front next to those open doors, so we could really take advantage of such a pleasant evening.

The interior is charming.  Dark wood beams, with huge columns and arches make this place really feel like a traditional trattoria.  It’s an elegant setting with booth tables on one side and standard seating on the other.  The menu, as we expected was predominantly fish.  There is a small selection of vegan and meat options available al la carte, but we were most definitely there for the seafood!

We decided to start with a cocktail… Because it had been such a humid day, the waitress suggested the Pescatori Apple Martini (£7.95) which really hit the spot.  Light, refreshing, the slight kick of alcohol not to overpowering, I had this polished off in no time at all!

The staff really are fantastic and are extremely knowledgeable about every single dish on the extensive and recently updated menu.  I don’t often eat out at fish restaurants, but our waitress came up with excellent choices as I deliberated over what to go for.  We started with the Bruschetta Di Granchio – fresh handpicked Dorset crab with avocado on toasted bread.  At £10.50 for a starter, you would expect a generous amount of crab and happily I tucked in to the fresh bread and mountains of even fresher crab; flaky, flavoursome and most definitely delicious.  Again we left the wine choice up to the waiter and he made a great selection in the Gavi Di Gavi La Minaia Nicola Bergaglio – sharp, and crisp with a citrusy kick from the Piemonte province.

For my main course, I was determined to try the Aragosta Salsa Thermidor and I’d whole heartedly recommend it.  This is a generous half Dorset Blue lobster with cognac, Dijon mustard, cream and shallots.  Meaty, succulent and juicy, I’d say this is one of the best lobsters I’ve had the pleasure to eat and that combination of flavours - the luxurious taste of cognac with cream and balanced with just a hint of mustard, was excellent.  At £19.95, I also thought this was great value for money.  My friend, after much deliberation and some guidance from our waitress decided to go for the Sogliola – grilled Cornish Dover sole with sautéed samphire, cockles and soft herbs.  I’m not normally keen on Dover sole, but again, this dish was packed with flavour and looked as if it had just been plucked fresh from the sea!  Another generous serving, seasoned well and beautifully presented.

I’d already heard the desserts at Pescatori are amazing, and although the speciality is the Gnocchi Di Latte – baked sweet dumplings with glazed dark rum, I felt this was a little heavy after all the food we’d consumed.  We opted for the Torta Di Mirtilli – a blueberry cheesecake with vanilla crème, both light and satisfying and full of fresh fruit flavour made this a great choice.

We were having such a great evening, that by the time we finished dessert, we hadn’t realised most people had finished dinner and we were the only one’s left!  This meant we were lucky enough to catch the head chef Francesco Zanchetta who was more than happy to chat to us about the ingredients he uses and the innovative recipes he comes up with, inspired by his time in Italy.  Francesco explained that the fish is all ethically sourced and that the seasonal menu maximises the best that the coastline can offer, so that as a customer, you really getting the freshest and best quality fish possible.  Knowing there’s such a personable and knowledgeable chef at the helm of the kitchen made me even more sure that I’d be a returning customer – what a lovely guy!

Pescatori continues to stand the test of time, whilst re-inventing their menu along the way and if fish is your thing, then Luxuria most definitely recommends this delightful, lively, reasonably priced, Central London restaurant for an unforgettable dining experience. 

There’s also Surf and Turf Wednesday’s and Lobster Friday’s – both worth booking in for.


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