Page 190 - Simply Abu Dhabi Magazine VI

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Taste of Italy in
theHeart of
Babbo has combined a dedication to
delicious food with a winning warmth
to beguile Mayfair with Italian charm
s the A&J diaries consistently testify, to us going out for a meal is
about so much more than simply grabbing something to eat: it’s
about more than just the dishes that we choose from the menu. For
us fine dining is about the overall experience – one that feeds all our senses.
We like to feel as though we are being treated to something a little exclusive
- and that is exactly the feeling we were left with after a most pleasurable
evening out at a charmingly traditional Italian eatery in a vibrant London
Mayfair is the address in London where you can expect to be exposed to the
highest levels of luxury living – where class, sophistication and refined
elegance are everywhere you turn – and at the heart of this exclusive postcode
is a gem of an Italian Restaurant where that opulence is beautifully combined
with the warmth and friendliness so synonymous with the Italians to create
a first class relaxed dining experience. In 2009 a wonderful Italian Restaurant
opened its doors in Mayfair to huge critical acclaim. Restaurant critic Fay
Maschler was soon naming it one of her top restaurants of that year and,
after our recent visit, we would whole-heartedly support that fitting accolade.
Babbo positively exudes friendly hospitality in a laid back setting where both
global and Italian influences on the fine food speak for themselves.
Warm and Friendly
Having heard great things about Babbo and how the friendly team strive to
provide everyone with a superior dining experience, we went to find out
more, taking our hugely expectant appetites with us, blissfully unaware of
exactly how much of a treat lay in store for us. As we walked through the
door, not only were we greeted by the most wonderfully enticing aromas
from the kitchen, but we also immediately felt relaxed and at home, surrounded
by a cosy decor that also - cleverly - exuded sophisticated charm.
With its old fashioned appeal, bare brick walls and rustic ambience we could
have been forgiven for thinking that we’d just arrived at an establishment in
Milan - but Babbo creates a little Italy in the middle of London. The alluring
interior beautifully blends the style and grace associated with Mayfair with the
traditional magic so characteristic of a family-run Italian restaurant. A truly
authentic ambience has been created with dramatic displays shown off next to
the intricate wooden staircase, and the collection of framed family photographs
on the walls is yet another nod to the warm, embracing atmosphere into which
diners are welcomed.
Impeccable Food, Flawless Service
Amongst the discerning clientele we couldn’t help but feel we had been let into
a very special secret - despite the fact that Babbo extends a warm welcome to
everyone. It was the attention to detail, the inviting decor and the homely vibe
running through the enticing menu – all within the context of highly polished,
slick service – that creates the impression of being amongst a special elite set.
For this, Babbo deserves high praise indeed. Flawless service, impeccable food
and accommodating waiting staff pleased to assist with any request make for the
ultimate Italian dining experience, and it is obvious that Babbo will benefit
greatly from repeat business with this winning formula. The Italians are
renowned for their love of children and the importance they place on family -
and with ‘Babbo’ translating into ‘Daddy’ you have some idea of the exceptional
mix of family values, perfection and warmth that you will be treated to when
you walk through Babbo’s inviting doors.
Italian-inspired dishes are a favourite on many a restaurant menu, but if you are
looking for a truly authentic dining experience savouring regional cuisine, Head
Chef Douglas Santi and his team offer something very special indeed. Clientele
are provided with a unique dining experience that combines the most
impeccable fine dining ambience with authentic homemade Italian cuisine.
Babbo is the place to come to sample exquisite traditional dishes normally only
found in the heart of Italy within comfortable and authentically rustic
surroundings. With all the ingredients required for success and a passion for
delivering an authentic taste of Italy, Babbo is not just meeting diners’
expectations – it is exceeding them.
Delicious Dishes Lovingly Created with Passion
The talented and passionate Chef Douglas Santi developed his fervent passion
for food and cooking from an early age whilst growing up in Bergamo in
Northern Italy. At the tender age of just 13, his incredible career got off the
ground when he worked for Laurent Saudeau, the right hand man of the highly
commended Chef Paul Bocuse. In 1999, Santi became Sous Chef alongside
Alain Ducasse at the celebrated Louis XV in Monaco. Both these mentors have
proved instrumental in forming Santi’s cooking style, yet he also brings his own
inimitable style to every dish he produces, calling on experience gained across
the globe. He has worked in andmanaged kitchens inMonaco, Paris, New York,
Sao Paulo and London. As he himself has remarked:
“My own cooking, my own food celebrates the freshest, highest quality
ingredients. I work hard to personally source and find the best suppliers in the
world to ensure this. More than that my food celebrates the wide array of
cuisines and influences in which I’ve worked. I draw on the best traditions of
each but I give them my own unique stamp.”
It is not only his seemingly effortlessly executed Italian cuisine for which he is
renowned. Santi has also perfected a wide array of cuisines from around the
world including French, Portuguese and Italian. With such an impressive
portfolio, we were delighted to have the opportunity to sample the fruits of his
labour and dine in a restaurant where the food is cooked by individuals
passionate about their craft and served by warm, attentive waiters.
Cooking from the heart, Santi is constantly rethinking his menus and the variety
of dishes on offer. His spontaneous approach to the art of cooking has inspired
some breathtakingly magnificent flavour combinations, evident from the