Cecconi: Timeless (March 2017)

Like the cliché about buses, it had been nine months since I had last visited Cecconi and yet coincidence led to me making two visits within 72 hours. Both a lunch and a breakfast visit here confirmed to me why Cecconi remains one of the best restaurants in London: its coolness is effortless and so visiting here is always enjoyable; regardless of what else may be on-trend in London, Cecconi remains timeless. I could populate my review with lengthy superlatives and descriptions, but in summary there is almost nothing not to like. On all counts – food & drink, service and atmosphere – it is hard to fault. Atmosphere is an intangible concept, yet Cecconi consistently creates one; the place operates like a well-oiled machine. It is slick, but there is also the wonderfully warm charm provided by the mostly Italian staff. For lunch, take the cichetti (small dishes, similar to tapas) and particularly the quail’s eggs in tuna sauce, a house-special. A pasta main would then suffice and the wild mushroom pappardelle is stand-out, flavoursome and comforting. My comrade also rated her risotto with black cabbage and taleggio, a wonderfully presented dish, coloured an amazingly vivid green. For breakfast, I opted for the old-favourite of smoked salmon and scrambled egg. The colour of the eggs (a profound orange rather than the more common anaemic yellow) was also highly memorable and the overall dish probably bettered only in London at Claridges. At neither meal did we feel rushed, particularly despite the number of people waiting at lunchtime. Rather, if you can afford the time (less the money, since the menu has a number of well-priced items), then this is a place to luxuriate, take in the atmosphere and people-watch.  Go, and enjoy.