Restaurants; London's Italian renaissance

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The Independent Culture
In the Seventies, Italian restaurants and trattorias opened on nearly every high street and now, boosted by the success of such places as the River Cafe, we're set for a new wave of Italian cuisine.

After sampling everything from Thai to Japanese and Pacific Rim to modern British, things are coming full circle, and this summer a host of Italian eating places have opened in the capital.

Sir Terence Conran recently chose to look to Italy for inspiration when he opened Sartoria (right) in June. The restaurant not only specialises in Italian regional food but the inside takes its lead from Thirties' Italian rationalism.

And next month the people who own modern Italian Tentazioni are opening Grano, in Chiswick.

According to Marco Bacchetta, owner of Teca, which opened in Mayfair last month: "There certainly has been a revival of Italian food in London and the feeling is that it's definitely back in fashion. The main reason most people like it is because it is made with basic simple quality ingredients."

Italian wine is also becoming popular again, adds Marco.

Nikki Spencer



2 Mill Street, Lloyds Wharf, London SE1

(0171-237 1100)

This small restaurant (just 35 covers) offers classic dishes such as pheasant tortellini with potatoes, cream and truffle oil, and breast of duck with honey and balsamic vinegar.


20 Savile Row, London W1 (0171-534 7000) The name means tailor in Italian and Sir Terence Conran takes the theme to the limit at his latest upmarket restaurant - buttons and needles pop up everywhere, though hopefully not in the food. Sartoria specialises in Italian regional cooking, and the kitchen is run by Darren Simpson (right), who was chef at the groundbreaking River Cafe for more than two years.


54 Brooks Mews, London W1

(0171-495 4774)

This smart restaurant (left), housed in a former betting shop, focuses on simple traditional cooking with high-quality ingredients. Wine is stored in a striking teca (treasure chest) in the centre of the restaurant behind a wall of glass - presumably so no one walks away with it.


162 Thames Road, London W4

(0181-995 0120)

Meaning wheat, this new Italian, which will be a bit more expensive than sister restaurant Tentazioni opens on 4 September at what was formerly Oliver's Island.