Tartufi & Friends @ Harrods Knightsbridge
87-135 Brompton Rd, SW1X 7XL
http://www.harrods.com/content/the-store/restaurants/tartufi-friends/+44 207 225 5800
Harrods can be a bit bling for my taste-there was even a gold plated Ferrari parked outside the other day when Fiona and I visited to review the grand emporium’s new Italian truffle lounge Tartufi & Friends. However the restaurant, which sits on the Lower Ground Floor next to the wine department, is a model of Italian elegance and restraint with the entire focus being on the world of the truffle.
If like me you are obsessed with this most elusive of fungi just the smell that permeates the restaurant will be enough to get you excited. It’s owned by the Sermoneta group who have flagship restaurants in Milan and Rome and they have decorated the interior with truffle prints from the 1500s.
Truffles are seasonal and the ones we were about to sample were from Norcia in Umbria where they are sniffed out by specially trained dogs.
With some ceremony a dish of Yellowfin tuna tartare with crunchy celery and fresh truffle (£28) arrived, the powerful musky smell of the truffle held in by a little glass dome, the aroma bursting out as the dome lifted. The tuna was beautifully soft and fresh and with the crunch of the celery and the carpet of truffles this was a perfect dish.
We were drinking an elegant mineral Gavi di Gavi La Meirana 2013 (£10) which was a great match with Fiona’s smoked salmon- it was really good quality and served with white truffle salt, songino salad and fresh truffle (£26).
Tagliolino Cacio e Pepe with fresh truffle (£29) was simply fantastic. This was some of the best pasta I have ever eaten with the eggs, water and flour all from Italy and the al dente pasta slathered with the cheese and pepper and of course the velvety truffle. This dish made me very happy.
The Fillet of Wagyu Beef (£80 for 200g) was lovely and buttery and well rested.
Sole in a ‘sour’ sauce with cream of potatoes and fresh truffle (£26)- this most delicate of fishes was perfectly cooked just to the point of firmness but acted more as a vehicle for the truffle which overwhelmed its flavour.
The eggy Tiramisu (£12) that Fiona and I shared for dessert (she had more than me…) was notable by the absence of truffle yet still managed to be a sophisticated take on this modern classic. At this point in the meal things started to get a bit hazy as I got involved in a fascinating discussion with the manager and barman about truffle flavoured drinks.
They insisted that I try their Truffled Amaretto which combined the almond bite with the truffle flavour to create a lovely drink that resembled a smooth, slightly sweet truffly smoky bourbon. Just to complete my truffle/alcohol research I sampled a Truffle Sour and the combination of the truffle and citrus didn’t quite work for me-but more research is clearly needed on this subject.
If you’re in Harrods or Knightsbridge and in need of a light lunch or a full fine-dining truffle blow-out you should search out Tartufi. The food and service are both exemplary and whilst it is possible to spend a small fortune there a dish like the Cacio e Pepe would make a great lunch treat on its own. The truffle is a mysterious and extraordinary fungus and I can’t think of a better place to showcase it right now than Tartufi & Friends.