A forgotten favourite of mine in magical Marylebone is Il Baretto. For me, it has been reincarnated/returned to my radar owing to the opening of the new King of London hang outs, CHILTERN FIREHOUSE. Yes, it does deserve caps lock! Andre Balaz’s new hotel and restaurant is so cool you almost feel physical pain, well not really, but it definitely raises your resting heart rate due to the pure electricity running through the place.
After drinks at the Firehouse, with even big hitters being turned away for food and the fact I have already sampled their delights, we decided Il Baretto was the perfect choice. With a vibrant atmosphere, good food and a sprinkle of slick chicness, we trotted over the road.
I really had forgotten how much I love this menu. It is full of well known Italian classics and some other less well known treats from small villages in Italy. As we were seated, pizzas were twirled out to the adjacent table. Immediately, pizza was all I could think about. You may already know my rule with pizza, simply – keep it simple. I went for the bufala mozzarella and rocket. I did, however, manage to divert my attention from pizza to order a starter or two. With too many good options, we shared an array amongst the table. The zucchini chips are to die for, you may as well order two bowls to start with, one is definitely not enough. Other highlights – the seared yellowfin tuna and fennel, a char-grilled giant octopus tentacle, the bufala mozerella salad with artichokes and wild garlic leaves were all divinely fresh and bursting with flavour.
The piece de la resistance, my darling pizza was danced in front of me. Honestly,it was one of the lightest, freshest pizzas I have tasted in London. I could taste the love, care and finest ingredients that had gone into this delicious Italian staple. Pizzas in London, in fact anywhere but Italy can often be a letdown and not live up to your expectations. Yet with this pizza, I was completely overwhelmed. Will you be able to tear yourself away from the pizzas to order anything else? If you are able to, try the homemade pappardelle with lamb ragu. Again, it tastes even better than you imagine from the menu, super tender meat, with a rich, almost creamy but still tomato-ey enough sauce.
In true Italian style, the traditional tiramisu and selection of ice creams will mean you finish on a high.
So the opening of CF is great for London. The fact that Il Baretto is on its doorstep is better than a cherry on top. Traditional Italian dining in a glamorous setting! Perfect for a special occasion or when you fancy dinner after drinks at CF.