Ristorante Frescobaldi: In it for the long-run

The Frescobaldi’s have a long and glorious history, stretching back over 700 years. Throughout wars, changes in government and more, the family has continued to thrive, growing food and making wine in Tuscany. Their first restaurant offering opened in London in 2014. That it has survived 4 years is an achievement, given not only the city’s cut-throat dining scene and exorbitant rents, but also since it is located in an obscure side street and is by no means cheap, even by Mayfair standards. I guess the conclusion is that persistence pays off; the Frescobaldi’s are in this for the long-term and what they do, they do mostly very well. The food and drink were both excellent and even on the Monday lunchtime when my comrade and I visited, the venue seemed to be doing a good trade. The side-street (just off Regent Street) can, of course, be a blessing: only those in the know get to visit, while sitting al fresco without constant traffic is very pleasurable. The main dining room is also tastefully decorated, with high ceilings and a beautiful central wine bottle display. Food-wise, the emphasis is, unsurprisingly, on produce from Tuscany, with much (from bread to pasta) made in-house. The olive oil which accompanied our bread similarly comes from the Frescobaldi’s own estate. My comrade and I both began with homemade chicken liver pate, a generous portion which was deeply rich, earthy and very satisfying. A lobster and chilli linguine main undoubtedly showed the chef’s skill in pasta production (which had a lovely balance and density to it), but the accompanying lobster was stingy and the chilli almost non-existent – not really what I would expect for £27. A set two-course lunch menu is available for £25, but dining a la carte can see customers paying up to £26 just for a starter or £60 for a main. Similarly, wines – although good (like our 2014 Nipozzano) can see wild mark-ups and extend into the four-figure range. Frescobaldi has probably done its homework – and knows there is a target market for this sort of thing. If nothing else, the Frescobaldi’s seem to have staying power and look to be in this for the long-term.