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Sette by Scarpetta

Seductive glamour, decadent cocktails, indulgent Italian cuisine and a vibrant atmosphere: Sette by Scarpetta is a testament to the exclusive legacy that Knightsbridge is so coveted for.

By Olivia Riccini

Forever a place to signify sheer affluence in London, Knightsbridge is blessed with a plethora of restaurants that reflect its status in high-fashion and flamboyance. However, one of its glittering foodie treasures can be found shielded inside one of the area’s chicest hotels. This gem is of course, Sette by Scarpetta at the five-star Bulgari Hotel. 

One Saturday evening I find myself walking through the doors of this exclusive venue and directed by the doormen towards Sette. In the evenings, to access Sette you must walk through the Bulgari Hotel itself, and this is a walk that will beautifully set the tone for the rest of your evening. Seductive glamour seeps into every dark corner of the Bulgari, and this atmosphere floods to fill up Sette. Both restaurant and hotel share the same dark and moody lighting, throwing guests and diners into an atmosphere of refined elegance before sipping a single cocktail. The first thing you are greeted with at Sette is a remarkable bar. Taking centre stage, it is generously stocked with glittering bottles and overhung with botanical plants – this scene is one that assures me these mixologists know exactly what they are doing and are about to stir up a sensation.

Such sensation comes in the form of a ‘margarita Italiana’, concocted from patron silver, aperol, cointreau, lime juice and agave. Just as expected, it is everything a margarita should be: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. A perfectly balanced drink, the strong citrus flavour from the presence of lime makes it super refreshing. As I sit sipping, I take in my surroundings and admire Sette’s interiors which are no less than striking. Far from having all of those bland traits that many hotel restaurants fall victim to, Sette has successfully carved its own identity and stands as an individual while managing to make the most of the provided decadence courtesy of the Bulgari. Neutral tones compile the colour palette, soft earthy browns and beiges make the interiors all the more plush and leather backed seating backs onto the walls helping to create a sociable atmosphere amongst tables. Despite this vibrant, buzzy atmosphere the dark glow of the lighting maintains the seductive allure that emits from the Bulgari Hotel and into Sette. It is thanks to this persona that Sette has naturally become a real hit with Instagrammers, influencers, celebs and simply those who appreciate the elegant vibes that Knightsbridge is so coveted for. 

Meaning ‘seven’ in Italian, Sette (London) is New York City’s Scarpetta restaurant family’s seventh location, and first international opening; bringing authentic Italian food from the heart of Manhattan with its own inimitable flair. The term Scarpetta is derived from the Italian tradition ‘fare la Scarpetta,’ which means to indulge in a meal down to the very last taste – and this is exactly what I do at Sette. Starting with a selection of fresh breads and olive oil, Sette demonstrates from the get-go that it is committed to remaining true to this Italian philosophy – continuing in its tradition of sourcing excellent seasonal, local ingredients, and crafting freshly baked breads and homemade pastas daily. The breads that sit on my table are beautifully fresh and fluffy – a dream when drizzled with olive oil, successfully setting the scene of what could be a dinner in Italy itself.

A true scallop lover, it seems only right that I start this indulgence with the seared Orkney scallops with cauliflower purée, roasted cauliflowers and capers. This is a sublime start – creamy white with a firm texture, these scallops are light yet succulent at the same time. They are not overly fishy tasting, with a briny, slightly sweet flavour. This distinct flavour is elevated by the creamy addition of the cauliflower purée, a satiny texture, it is the perfect flavourful accompaniment that’s still restrained enough to let the delicate flavour of the seared scallop come through. The addition of the caper adds to the complexity of the dish all the more, their presence reminiscent of the lemony tang and brininess of green olives, but with a smack of floral tartness all their own.

Onto the mains, I opt for something a little different: pheasant wrapped in cabbage with pancetta, chestnut, fontina cheese and black truffle. An eclectic array of some of the richest, most distinct flavours, instead of being overpowering, this dish comes together in an utterly indulgent symphony. The gamey undertone of the pheasant is the perfect partner to the fresh green earthiness of the cabbage, while the chestnut adds a sweet element to this meticulous parcel with its buttery softness. All this is topped off by the earthy, musky, umami-rich flavour of the flaked truffle, which itself gives the dish hints of a subtly floral undertone. A veg lover, I thought it only right that we added a bit of extra greenery to our mains, and this comes in the form of buttery brussel sprouts with shredded pancetta. Needless to say, this side is perfectly cooked and a lovely, salty, veggie addition to the meal.

Although comfortably full, we are never a pair to turn down a pud, and the only way we do this is by sharing two between us. We opt for the ‘cassata siciliana’: ricotta, orange and pistachio. Yet another trio of divinely rich flavours, this discerning dessert comes out picture perfect – adorned with shiny, edible silver foil pieces, piped dots of white cream and a Jackson Pollock style splattered piece of white choc. It is equally tasty as it is appealing to the eye. Dessert number two is the ‘espresso budino’: salted caramel, chocolate biscotti and hazelnut gelato. A signature Italian dessert when it comes to style, flavour and presentation, this is a little choccy pyramid of rich pleasure. Dotted with a little piece of edible gold foil and accompanied by a scoop of gorgeously creamy hazelnut gelato complete with crunchy biscuit and cookie crumbs, it is a dreamy end to this indulgent meal. 

Sette is a testament to the exclusive legacy of Knightsbridge. A place of captivating decadence, it both attracts and suits those who appreciate the sleek elegance and forever-en-vogue identity of the area, while achieving ultimate indulgence through food and aesthetic interiors.

www.settelondon.co.uk

@settelondon

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