You don’t have to be Italian to make fantastic Italian food, but it’s reassuring to be served by a waiter who can tell you which dishes originate from his home region of Puglia, prepares your dishes at the table with a dash of flair, and leaves you to enjoy with an authentic ‘buon appetito’.
We may be on Regent Street but it triggers warm flashbacks to wonderful holidays in Roma, Venezia and Firenze. San Carlo is a chain, but it never gives off that vibe, with warm lighting and an interior that strikes the balance of feeling like a fancy night out, while remaining welcoming and never too opulent.
The delicately flavoured tuna tartare and the thinly sliced beef carpaccio are both designed to whet the appetite and ensure there’s plenty of space for the hefty main courses.
The lobster risotto is one of the most expensive mains on the menu, and it proves its worth with big chunks of meaty, juicy lobster, melt in the mouth shavings of black truffle and risotto at just the right consistency that holds together without being too gloopy — the placement of the hollowed out lobster shell on the edge of the dish is a nice touch. The lobster is due to having Aldo Zilli as a consultant chef and it’s proof how his influence is already delivering benefits.
Spaghetti Vongole (clams) is an Italian classic and San Carlo’s version is decent but doesn’t quite distinguish itself from others we’ve had — take our advice and try the more adventurous dishes to see where this restaurant stands out.
It’s always important to make room or dessert and even if stomachs are struggling, your taste buds will thank you for tackling the home made pistachio cake. Pistachio may be a powerful flavour, but the level is just right in this fluffy and more-ish dessert, which is only topped by the heavenly pistachio ice cream it comes with — it slides across the tongue like silk through fingers. It’s a sensational end to a fantastic Italian meal.
Would it be stereotypical to bring our thumb and fingers together to deliver the traditional Italian ‘chef’s kiss’? Well we’re going to do it anyway, as San Carlo deserves it.
San Carlo, 2 Regent Street, St James’s, SW1Y 4LR. The meal in this menu cost circa £70 for two excluding drinks.
Last Updated 09 May 2019