Entering Zafferano feels like stepping into the dining hall of an up-market old people’s home. Not only are the majority of customers far past retirement age but also the atmosphere is pleasantly subdued and old-fashioned with white table clothes and humongous flower arrangements. In short, you wouldn’t go to Zafferano for people watching or to meet men. Unless you want to catch a millionaire in his eighties of course… Zafferano is not only in one the poshest parts of town, namely in the border between Knightsbridge and Belgravia, but it is also just next to a Louboutin shoe shop. Just the right think to wet your appetite, girls…
Because let me tell you, food was, if not very experimental, solidly outstanding. Already the bread was superb – all for different varieties and the grissini were so tasty that we had to hold back not to finish the entire bread basket. The menu costs 34.50 for 2 courses, 44.50 for three and 49.50 for four courses. As a starter we tried the Burata which came with rucola, cherry tomatoes and aubergine. The cheese was heavenly creamy and ripe and tasted ever so slightly salty. It was beautiful by itself, but even better with the aromatic tomatoes. Forget about the aubergine though, this was undercooked and without any merit. The Branzino Carpaccio was again lovely – the fish fresh and melting in my mouth and the pieces of sweet water melon providing an interesting contrast. However, the rucola was too strong a taste and was overpowering the fish. Maybe one should send a notification out to all Italian restaurant in London that we still like them, even if they don’t put rucola into absolutely everything…
Faultless were the 2 main courses. I was hesitant at first to order the monk fish as I had too many dried out monk fish pieces recently. The Zafferano version however was divine: succulent and cooked to perfection, the monk fish came in a light, Asian-inspired sauce with crunchy pieces of lightly grilled zucchini. I am usually not the biggest veal fan, but I was glad that I gave it a try at Zafferano’s. The meat was pink and soft and was immersed in the most beautiful and light gravy with good helping of very flavoursome chanterelles.
No, the food is not experimental and it doesn’t push any boundaries, but gosh! it’s so comforting once in a while, instead of chasing after unusual flavour combinations, rare and exotic herbs and weird ways of preparing things, to just lean back and savour exceptionally well prepared familiar flavours. And, judging by the number of centenarians at Zafferano, it also seems their food makes you live long!
The service was very annoying though. I mean hugely annoying. I have never seen a restaurant where your full (FULL!!) wine glasses get topped up every 20 seconds. It was impossible to have a conversation because you always had to get rid off terribly keen waiters that were humming around you like flies. When we told them that they please should stop doing this, they were miffed and didn’t fill our wine glasses at all anymore, not even when they were empty. (Dear Zafferano team, this is the point when you actually SHOULD fill up a wine glass. Easy: empty = fill!).
- Food: 8/10
- Service: 5/10
- Ambiance: 7/10
- Value for money: 7/10
- Chances of returning: 60%
- Verdict: Geriatric atmosphere but seriously nice food
More Links: Also in this area you find the funky Japanese Zuma, the neighbourhood bistro Chabrot and the laid back deli Jaks.