It’s often said a dining room should arouse curiosity and lead to conversation among guests. And if ornate furnishings and striking interiors are to go by, then the one-of-a-kind Piazza Italiana in London should be at the top of that list. Sabi Phagura went along for a taste of Italy in all its forms without as much as catching a flight.
Nestled in a seriously spectacular grade II listed building once home to the former British Linen Bank, the owners of Piazza Italiana have picked a cracking setting to offer a slice of ‘little Italy’.
The interiors include high ceilings, gilded cornices, wood panelling, imposing columns and marble finishes. Restored to its original design from 1902, it’s a guaranteed conversation starter. It took my guest Mandy and me a good five minutes to look around this old worldly room before settling down to check the menu.
While this establishment has a strong private members club feel to it, Mandy and I were kept from feeling out of place. The all-day dining room in Threadneedle Street means guests from all walks of life can kick start their day here with breakfast, escape the office for a lunch break or unwind with a slap-up meal post-work.
The menu is created by Sicilian-born culinary genius Remo Mazzucato and hails classic dishes from across Italy, complementing the extensive wine list. With its 37-page wine menu and a separate bar list for its signature cocktails, it’s akin to reading a small book.
Hands down, the menu is a carb-lovers dream with an array of pasta, pizzas and focaccia dishes. But even if you’re watching the calories, there is a dish that will please even the pickiest of eaters. Not bothered by the number of carbs that would be consumed in the evening, Mandy and I tucked into a platter of bread, oil and butter while discussing what to eat.
Our jovial waiter Gabor informed us the signature dish is a truffle pasta, hand spun in a pecorino wheel at your table. And while I love a bit of theatrical experience at my dining table, we settled upon a selection of dishes to share. And so in came plates of Zucchine con pomodori, Calamari Fritti, Linguine al frutti di mare, and entrecote di manzo. And, of course, if there are triple-cooked truffle chips on the menu, then they, too, make the cut as they did on this occasion.
It’s hard to single out any particular food that stood out for either of us from the selection ordered, but I can say each dish was simple food at its best. Having said that, Mandy said her steak was exceptionally good.
There were no overbearing or over-empowering flavours, the portion sizes were good, and despite there being a mountain of carbs, we didn’t feel overfull. Perhaps it was the pace at which the dishes were served and even taking a break from eating to have a peek inside the private dining spaces on the mezzanine level.
Private Dining at Piazza Italiana
For anyone looking to host an event, Piazza Italiana has two versatile and intimate areas for private dining. While the ground floor can accommodate groups of up to 160 guests, the private areas can provide party sizes of up to 80 guests.
The design for the Ante Chamber takes inspiration from a contemporary interpretation of Venetian palaces. Its soft tones and delicate forms accentuate the grandeur of the space for 14 guests. Meanwhile, the wooden décor of the Mezzanine PDR offers a separate welcome bar area with an ultimate whiskey and cognac display.
Back at the table, there was just enough room to fill the gaps in our bellies for pudding. Upon Gabor’s recommendations, we were taken in by the tiramisu (what else?) and a lemon cake. The former was served with a soft scoop of coffee ice cream, which made all the difference when allowing the layers of flavours to melt in the mouth.
The ice cream is what set this tiramisu apart from any other I have tasted. And it is little touches like this, together with the stunning ambience of Piazza Italiana, showing every detail matters.
Piazza Italiana – Where and How?
Piazza Italiana can be found at 38 Threadneedle St, London EC2R 8AY. For more information or reservations, visit www.piazzaitaliana.co.uk.
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