The thought of a Mayfair restaurant conjures up certain expectations of glamourous surroundings and a menu to match.
Here, ‘relaxed’ and ‘welcoming’ are not terms that spring to mind but in Bocconcino, minutes from Green Park, we found all three.
Bocconcino opened in 2014 from Executive Chef Marco Corsica, aiming to offer Mayfair both classic and modern Italian dishes.
Entering from Berkeley Street, you are welcomed into the upper level of a mezzanine floor, with a grand wrought iron staircase and view of the bar, tables and trellaced walls with rustic vines.
In keeping with the Italian theme, there is an open kitchen where you can watch chefs prepare fresh pasta and pizza – a good omen. We were lead along the upper mezzanine floor to a cavernous back room, for us the real star of the show.
From the street, you have no idea of the space of the restaurant of the back, reminiscent of trattorias in Sicily and on the Amalfi coast that are unassuming from the outside and positioned for the sparkling sea view.
Sadly without the view, Bocconcino makes up for it with Italian-style interiors, an almost entirely Italian staff and over 200 italian wines.
Staff were attentive and encouraging to explore a range of dishes from the menu: following recommendations, we began with Bocconcino’s take on Focaccia – thinner and crispier than the traditional – and a mixture of starters reflecting the traditional italian dishes and modern alternatives that make up the comprehensive menu.
In the former, a classic Parmigiana Di Melanzane arrived aromatic and bubbling, alongside a reliable and generously-portioned Andria Burrata.
In the latter, we tried some of the seafood: plump Scottish scallops, hand-dived that day, on a bed of cauliflower puree; and a tuna tartare which – if a little at odds with the rest of the menu – was expertly seared and served with avocado and a spicy tomato salad.
We followed this with a few of the hand-rolled pasta dishes: a daily special Cacio e Pepe tossed in an instagram-friendly, but no less appealing, wheel of Grana Padano at the table and the fish of the day, lemon sole, cooked in a light puttanesca sauce.
On their recommendation, we finished with a Torta al Cioccolato; described fittingly on the menu as ‘rich chocolate decadence’, accompanied by some of the best gelato I have had outside of Italy, in the basic flavour of Vanilla, no less.
Bocconcino serves excellent Italian food with the luxurious service of Mayfair, whilst feeling like you are eating in authentic italy.
Whilst not the best known Italian restaurant in the area, for a romantic evening, or a crowd-friendly celebration, it hits the spot.
The Bon Vivant Journal
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