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5 Pollen St

February 29th 2012
Sitting down with Quintessentially Editor Harry Hughes and Diego Bivero-Volpe – dashing connoisseur of the London restaurant scene – writer and sometimes-gastronome Adrian Shankar muses on a bright new offering in the heart of Mayfair.

Perhaps it would be an uncomfortable experience for some, placed opposite the intimidating figure of the Editor-in-Chief of Quintessentially.

But not for me.  Now ensconced in the stylish confines of this Italian eatery - a new restaurant located on an a rather aloof side street in Mayfair - I had been instantly put at ease by the staff.

The atmosphere dripped with effortless elegance and charm, and my gaze was transfixed on the carefully selected artwork, broken only when the head barman delivered our drinks, combining such energy and delicacy of movement that one felt as if Winter had turned to Spring.
"the proprietor raised a suspicious eyebrow towards me, as if I had besmirched his honour"

As the Editor-in-Chief regaled us with anecdotes and tales of yore, we sampled a beetroot ravioli starter. The restaurant hummed with conversation, but there was no doubt that attention now focused on the looming entrance of the signature dish – The Seabass – now sprawled in front of us with delicate élan, as if it had been stripped from the oceans by Poseidon himself.

Brimming with charisma and foppish hair, the very distinguished figure of Mr Diego Bivero-Volpe has injected the establishment with a verve and style that befits the dashing new player on the scene.  Please note: for those seeking a more intimate experience, he has placed a private room towards the back of the restaurant (here, four men were seen negotiating subtleties long into the afternoon).

After I refused the recommendation of a passion fruit fondant, the proprietor raised a suspicious eyebrow towards me, as if I had besmirched his honour, stolen his horse, and galloped off into the sunset with his fair maiden in tow.

It was hard to imagine that anything could have outdone the lucid and sagacious conversation of the Editor-in-Chief – surely the title of Chief has never been so richly deserved – but the dining experience managed to do just that.  I retreated to the shops of Regent St, simply so I could purchase a hat and return, ready to doff it towards the staff as a mark of respect.


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