It's unusual to find a Japanese chef in an Italian restaurant, but Yoshi Yamada brings meticulous flair to this new and comfortable spot just down from the Mirabelle in Curzon St. Here, quality means that the breads and pasta have been made on the premesis and the breads come with a dish of olive oil which is automatically refilled; a generous touch. We both had a 'cicchetti' of warm grilled octopus and pomegranate seed salad which was of just the right the right side of chewy and went well with a glass of a very good Gavi di Gavi.
Main courses were the crab tagliolini, which my wife dubbed 'better than the River Cafe' - the highest accolade we have - and I had a fine pea and bean risotto (though both might have been the tiniest bit over salty). The best however came last - a simple lemon tart from the female Japanese pastry chef that was absolutely superb. Service was excellent and the price surprisingly reasonable for that gilded stretch of Mayfair. I shall have to take up residence beside the long windows in the upstairs bar.
Modern Italian wtih excellent service. The pasta marinara was simple but outstanding. This is a little hidden gem in London! It was hopping during JCAW! Hoya Saxa!
Fpr photos see Greedy Diva @ greedydiva.blogspot.com/…
A skilled Japanese chef in an Italian neighbourhood restaurant in Mayfair? My interest was sufficiently piqued.
Yoshi Yamada has trained in L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Japan and Michelin starred restaurants in various parts of Italy. He now brings his deft hand to this appetizing Italian fare at Tempo on Curzon Street.
The decor, like the clientele, is smart and stylish - turquoise velvet chairs are neatly positioned, adding a splash of vibrant colour to light floorboards, taupe walls and long, rectangular windows looking onto the well-heeled streets. Upstairs is a stunning bar area which is well worth a visit in its own right - along with other diners, my companion - The London Foodie - and I sojourned for a cocktail there after dinner. The Rococo wall, high ceilings, luxurious velvet sofas and opulent fit out make this a fabulous spot for a secluded late night drink.
The menu features an alluring selection of cicchetti (Venetian small plates, ranging from £2.25 - £3.75), carpaccio (£8.75-£9.75), antipasti (£6.50 - £12.75), pasta and risotto (£9.00 - £11.00, or £20.50 for the tagliatelle with Tuscan white truffles), pesce and carni (£15 - £19.75) and dolci (£5.50 - £7.00). Much appeals and it's hard to choose...
We start with a selection of the cichetti, and we go for everything they've got. The golden arancini di funghi selvatici (fried risotto balls with wild mushrooms and mozzarella) are lovely and crispy on the outside, but I find the flavour sadly bland. Everything else is good - bruschetta di peperoni, with shiny red slivers of sweet roasted peppers atop a creamy burrata pugliese; crunchy crostino with plump shrimp, glistening cavolo nero and just the right hit of garlic; crostini with Umbrian lentils and salty, creamy pancetta; and bruschetta with layers of fatty, spicy Calabrian pork sausage. While I think the rest of the menu is fairly priced, particularly for this neighbourhood, the cichetti seem steep in comparison, notwithstanding the quality of the ingredients - £3.50 for one arancini, and up to £3.50 for a single crostini.
A highlight is the insalata di polpo (reasonably priced at £3.75), a thick, crisp tentacle of seared octopus with thin slices of tart Granny Smith apple, flat leaf parsley and bright jewels of pomegranate.
Deep fried squid and whitebait (£8) are well seasoned, crisp and hot, with just a light, non-greasy smattering of batter.
The swordfish or salmon carpaccios might have been good choices given the Japanese chef at the helm, but instead our Scottish beef carpaccio (£8.75) did not disappoint. Pink slithers of flavoursome beef were littered with smashed hazelnuts, peppery rocket and the bite of shaved parmesan cheese.
My generous twirl of taglioni with fresh, sweet Cornish crab, dill and lime has an elegant balance of delicate flavours and is certainly enjoyable - even if I would have preferred more of a toothsome bite to the pasta (£10.75).
But for a robust, wintery dish, it's hard to go past The London Foodie's meaty mound of pappardelle with chunky wild boar ragu, chestnuts and parmesan (£8.25). A gorgeous dish.
My fish stew is a delectable, soupy bowl of white fish, prawns and clams in a light tomato sauce (£17.50). The London Foodie enjoys his attractive looking, fatty pork belly with smooth olive oil mash (£18.00).
Which brings us to dolci. My chocolate fondant is a glorious, gooey, chocolately delight. The lemon tart which comes recommended by our waitress, oozes a fresh, lemony zing with a crunchy, creme brulee-like caramalised top, and an excellent pastry base.
Tempo has some hot competition among the ranks of Italian restaurants which have taken London by storm in the last year or so. However, I believe it can stand its ground firmly among them. It's a restaurant of both style and substance, and well worth adding to your culinary to do list.
Modern take on Italian/Continental cuisine. Low key, upscale restaurant owned by Henry Togna, former owner of one of London's best boutique hotels, 22 Jermyn Street, he opened this place after losing the lease that his family had since 1908. Mr. Togna treats all of his patrons as long lost friends. The food is excellent. 10 minute walk from Piccadilly/Regent St area, this little restaurant should not be missed.
Tempo is a very good restaurant in Mayfair. My wife and I enjoyed excellent main courses - lamb and pasta - and the atmosphere was friendly. We were visiting London from California and were very happy to find this little gem near Shepherd's Market.
I think the reviews above cover off the amazing food, and so I'd just add that we also thought the food, location and service was faultless. From the moment we arrived, we felt relaxed and taken care of. I'd certainly recommend Tempo as a place to go with friends, work colleagues or even for a cocktail and a good book on your own after work!
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