What: An Italian restaurant within Fitzrovia private members’ club Mortimer House. Fully open to the public on the club’s ground floor, Mortimer House Kitchen previously traded simply as Mortimer House and was overseen by Italian-born chef Antonio ‘Lello’ Favuzzi. Despite his heritage, the menu was eclectic with a strong Levantine slant (although there certainly were some nods to Italy).
Who: The handsome Art Deco building is part of Guy Ivesha’s Maslow’s group, which is also behind 1 Warwick in Soho, which launched early last year and has a comparable set up to its older Fitzrovia sibling with a public restaurant (the ostensibly modern British Nessa) downstairs and a private members club above. Ivesha has parachuted in his executive chef Tom Cenci to lead the relaunch of Mortimer House’s main restaurant. The kitchen is being run day-to-day by head chef Tim Connor (who joins from Nessa) while the general manager of the restaurant is Grace Trozado, who was most recently at The Standard, London.
The vibe: The 90-cover space retains the same look and layout of its last iteration with a broadly Art Deco feel that mirrors the building's externals. Design details include large windows that flood the room with natural light; a fully-open kitchen to the rear of the space; and a PDR called The Conservatory that has a more rustic aesthetic and seats 20. There will also be a further 45-covers on the street outside when weather permits.
The food: Inspired by Cenci’s family holidays in Piedmont and the Amalfi coast, the menu starts with a selection of scarpetta (dishes designed to be scooped up with bread) and antipasti plates designed to share, followed by larger pasta dishes and classic Italian main courses ‘reimagined’. Dishes include courgette Caesar with Parmesan and pangrattato; beef tartare with n’duja and bruschetta; spaghetti al pangrattato with garlic and olive oil (pictured above); maccheroni with taleggio with truffle and black pepper; and chicken or aubergine Parmigiana with marinara sauce (with the optional addition of fresh spaghetti with cured egg yolk on the side). Desserts include cannoli with sweet ricotta and pistachio; and Torta 900, a chocolate cake from Turin.
To drink: Mortimer House’s bar manager Massimo Golfetto (previously at The Standard, London) has worked with Cenci to create a menu of nostalgic, Italy-inspired cocktails including the Milano-Bassano (Grappa Moscato, Cocchi Torino, Campari and strawberry) and the Alba (Campari, Kwai Feh, La Yuzu, grapefruit soda and Prosecco). The largely European wine list starts at £34 a bottle for still wine and has a little under 50 listings in total.
And another thing: Mortimer House Kitchen is one of a number of recent openings to offer Italian-American staples (its two Parmigiana dishes served with a side spaghetti on the side being a case in point). Other places drawing influence from New York’s Little Italy in the capital include Leo’s bar and restaurant in Hackney and The Dover in Mayfair.
37-41 Mortimer St, London W1T 3JH