Cecconi certainly places itself at the high-end of Italian restaurants. Given this price point, a critical review is called for. With restaurants across Europe and America, an original in Mayfair and most recently a pizza bar in Soho, it probably feels very at home in the Ned. I luncheoned here with a colleague (hence no photos) and to be frank, would only ever return if someone else were paying.
As I’ve mentioned in my reviews of Kaia and the Malibu Kitchen (on which, see here and here) the Ned has dramatically improved the restaurant landscape of the City. Whilst it’s certainly the centre of a torrent of social media from a tribe of “social influencers” with unlimited access to the Ned’s rooftop infinity pool and day-jobs doing god-knows exactly what, it’s definitely an asset for the City and a stunning one at that. Set in a Grade-I listed building originally designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1924, as soon as you walk in, you’re swept up in its atmosphere and Art-Deco glamour.
This offshoot of Cecconi is in keeping with its London counterparts. The menu is versatile, ranging from snack sized cicchetti and hearty, rustic pizzas, to delicate carpaccios and dainty salads. For its price point, getting pasta right here is a must. So to test out whether it succeeded in that regard, I went for the Gnocchi, morels, broad beans & asparagus (£22).
Verdict? It was totally underwhelming, especially as compared with my colleague’s impressive wood-fired pizza. Small portioned and dry, it needed a sauce – whether in the form of a rich buttery goodness or a summery Ligurian pesto.
Priced at £22, I was astonished by how this could be justified for a handful of pasta pieces, albeit freshly made. I’d finished my plate by the time my colleague was a quarter of the way through his pizza! And they didn’t even have a proper ground black pepper grinder!!! A sin for any Italian restaurant, especially given the price point here.
For the moneyed classes, this Venetian brasserie and its impeccably grand surroundings is bound to impress. Yes, there’s a certain downlit glamour to it but for me, a more local, low-key Italian trattoria is much more successful – those with their chequered table-cloths, run by Italian families using recipes handed-down over generations, to serve hearty and delicious food.
Cecconi, 27 Poultry, London EC2R 8AJ