32 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 34 Hans Crescent, Knightsbridge, SW1X 0LZ www.maiamood.com
Mike has a chic Knightsbridge experience at Italian restaurant Maia.
A stone’s throw from Harrods, where the stones are diamonds set into gold, this latest addition to the smartest of London postcodes is open for brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
We arrive just after seven and clearly catch the tail end of high end shoppers with clutches of bags like they had in Sex in the City.
Maia’s mono-colour minimalist interior references the 1960s, with tasteful geometric prints above glass-topped tables, comfortable chairs and sumptuous dark leather.
The manager Francesco and his staff are welcoming and we take a table along the linear banquette. My date wins and parks herself on it facing out to snoop at the wealthy young things as we eat.
The cocktails here are excellent Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the list designed by’award-winning and avant-garde drinks specialist’, Richard Woods. A Rose Negroni and an Old Fashioned twisted with salted caramel and a hint of balsamic are extremely tasty and slip down a treat as we mull over our food choices.
A seasonal, Italian-inspired menu is at the heart of the offering, with starters, medium sized pasta plates, proper mains and of course Dolce Ã¢â‚¬â€œ so you can have as much or as little as you wish.
We opt for a mixture, first sampling wonderfully crispy calamari with just the right level of bite resistance, accompanied by delicate rings of fresh jalapeÃƒÂ±o all dipped into spicy mayo, lovely.
Next is beef carpaccio, artfully arranged onto a crunchy tuille, with extra virgin olive oil, rocket & parmesan shavings. It’s quality fresh stuff.
Our third starter arrives (we were unable to resist), their milky fresh Burrata cheese, akin to Mozzarella, but much stretchier and more squidgy, brought to life with dabs of emerald green pesto and finished with the long peppery notes of extra-virgin olive oil.
We can’t fit in a pasta course and a main each, so decide to get one a piece.
My favourite Italian cheese is pecorino so I choose Cacio e Pepe, the delightfully simple spaghetti pecorino Romano & pepper dish is flawlessly cooked and delicious.
My date has a nicely grilled sea bass enlivened with nothing but dressed fruity datterini tomatoes. A bottle of Barbera d’Asti Fiulot, Prunotto is the smoothest of lubricants.
As we eat and drink, she comments on a woman at another table who displays her sparkly new shoes to her model friends from a golden drawstring bag – we’ve only ever had ours from bland boxes printed with high street names.
A table of Japanese girls all sit glued to their phones, together at table but swimming alone in global data.
I can see none of this as I’m focussed on us and our lovely food and booze, although. I do notice the pleasant sound of Lamborghini engines gurgling past about every ten minutes.
The desert choice here is mind boggling. Francesco takes us to the display of amazingly colourful cakes and cheesecake decorated in an abundance of berries as well as petite pastry fancies of chocolate and pistachio.
A selection is just right to finish off our night, before we bid our farewells to amble past the decorative and brightly lit Harrods faÃƒÂ§ade, not to a waiting Lambo, but to the tube, to rub shoulders with the real world again.