The best neighbourhood Italian restaurant in London – Da Beppe, Fitzrovia’s latest opening
Another great review from Nuzy. Nuzy Sayani is Catwalkschoolgates’ new contributor. Nuzy lives in Marylebone with her husband and seven year old son. She is a technology lawyer and loves the theatre, cinema, is an avid reader and likes nothing more than trying out new restaurants. Nuzy will be sharing her dining experiences with us and would love to hear from you with your recommendations.
Nuzy and Hassan on the opening night.
We have been eating at restaurants run by the flamboyant Giuseppe (“Beppe”) Tamborino for over fifteen years and were bereft when he left De Martino on Great Portland (that has suffered as a result) earlier this year. We were delighted when he told us he was opening a new restaurant; the eponymous Da Beppe, in Cleveland Street, London W1 and could not wait to try it.
Beppe has a simple yet winning formula – fresh ingredients cooked to a consistently high standard, all served by a man whose portions are as generous as his personality. His restaurants are always buzzing and there is a healthy banter between him and his staff. Italian football plays (on mute) in the background and over the years we have come to know his many regular customers. It is the only restaurant where my son Reza will confidently order (and more importantly eat) three courses without constant prompting.
Da Beppe opened last week and it is already filling up. The restaurant is small with 50 covers between the ground and lower ground food so you will be assured personal attention. The lower ground floor is available for private parties if you ask nicely!
Beppe and the lovely Nicole
The menu is classic Italian but there is no sign of checked table cloths and candles placed in Chianti bottles here. Beppe has hired his chefs from Italy and there is definitely an authenticity to the food. Vegetarians are well catered for so I will be coming back with my friend Bijal very soon.
We enjoyed chargrilled calamari, Melanzane alla Parmigiana and grilled asparagus to start with. I grew up on the coast in Mombasa, Kenya where we ate the freshest seafood but I can honestly say that Beppe’s grilled king prawns cooked with garlic, chilli and white wine would give the famous Tamarind restaurant a run for its money. Do order these as a starter or a main course if you like prawns – I promise that you will not be disappointed.
Our main courses included a succulent rack of lamb and a whole grilled sea bass. Reza happily polished off his “yummy” rigatoni with beef ragu.
A very happy Reza
We have entertained numerous friends and family members at Beppe’s restaurants and they always ask “what is good?” I can genuinely say that I have never had a bad meal – be it one of the pasta dishes; a sumptuous risotto on a cold night or the freshly prepared fish and meat dishes. There is a daily list of specials that reflects what is available in the market – from rabbit to lobster and I know that Beppe would not put anything on the menu unless he is satisfied that he can do it justice.
I often have a simple Veal a la Milanese partnered with spaghetti Napoli (with extra red chilli) that is as good as any I have eaten in Italy or in far more expensive Italian restaurants in London. Similarly the T-bone steak is fabulous (ask Beppe to make you a Barolo sauce to accompany it). Beppe is happy to adapt dishes to suit your tastes.
Desserts include homemade tiramisu and pannacotta, Do try Nonna’s almond tart and the sinful dark chocolate profiteroles.
There is a good range of Italian wines including a fabulous Vino Nobile and a Barolo and the prices are refreshingly reasonable. Round off your meal with an Italian digestif. As we were taught in Italy – you should always “close your stomach” after eating.
I recommend Da Beppe for great Italian food in a cosy and relaxed surrounding, with friends or family, any day of the week. Salute!
Da Beppe Italian Restaurant London, 72 Cleveland Street London W1T 5NR
Tel. 0203 774 4558, http://dabeppe.co.uk