A ‘No-Menu’ Italian Feast at Piccadilly’s Mercante

by Amy Lainchbury - Sunday December 3, 2017 11:12 am

Somewhat hidden inside the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane , is a beautiful, peaceful restaurant called Mercante, serving delightful dishes from across Italy to hotel guests, tourists and those in the know.

At the helm is Head Chef Davide D’Ignazio, who’s cut his teeth in Michelin kitchens around Europe and knows a thing or two when it comes to whipping up an Italian feast.

Just as well, since the restaurant has launched a monthly supper club featuring a mysterious ‘no menu’ concept. Put together to showcase the very best of fresh Italian cuisine, the menu offers a live cooked four-course dinner with wine pairings that vary according to the season.

Despite there being no menu, we were promised food inspired by the bustling markets of great Italian cities, featuring high-quality produce influenced by regional specialties and traditional homespun recipes. And it’s all seasonal (of course).

We kicked off with a beautiful tender pork cheek, with porcini carpaccio and celeriac puree. The meat was so soft, and I adore celeriac, so a total winner in my opinion. Perfectly sized, it was satisfying but left everyone keen for the next course.

Next up was pumpkin risotto, made from pumpkin that had spent a few weeks drying out, enhancing and intensifying the sweet flavour. It was gorgeous, really silky with perfect al dente Arborio rice. The portion was hefty for a four-course menu, but everyone polished it off regardless.

Our fish course was a tender sea bass fillet with a shaved fennel, olive and caper salad – a hit, despite not being a fan of fennel or olives. It was all very subtle, and the crunch was lovely with the fish. A sweet finish of panna cotta with pomegranate gel was firm and vanilla-y, with the sharp gel a nice compliment.

The fact that each course was cooked and plated right in front of the table was great, showing off the theatrical element that you usually miss. The kitchen team were a well-oiled machine, moving around each other with ease and grace, and it was really fascinating to watch. It was also lovely to meet Davide, and have him explain each dish with so much passion for his country and the ingredients he’d chosen.

Piccadilly isn’t generally somewhere I’d think to head for an incredible meal, but Mercante is now very much part of my entral London repertoire. Take friends, parents, and dates, it’s well worth it.

The ‘no menu’ Mercante supperclub experience is a very reasonable £55 per person for four courses with matched wine, and you need to book in advance. It runs on every third Thursday of the month.

www.mercanterestaurant.com

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