Cicchetti Knightsbridge has just opened its doors on Hans Road, barely a high-heeled stride from the doors of Harrod’s. As cooler weather sends us retreating indoors, seeking out carby comforts with a glass of red, The Handbook contributor Katie Renouf pays a visit.

Tonight’s outing begins with a bit of pre-dinner research, as is the norm when I’m visiting a new venue. I normally dive straight into the menu, but something else is a priority: how do you pronounce “cicchetti”?

A quick Google search reveals that my assumptions of “kitchetty” or “chichetty” are wrong; it’s actually “chee-keh-tee”. Having recently visited Italy, this is unfortunate. The word itself is Venetian in origin and refers to medium-sized dishes, served in the popular family-sharing style. The sharing concept works especially well here as the menu is vast; the bread and bruschetta section alone has eight options. My love of all things carb is well-documented so have a happy spring in my step as I arrive at the restaurant.

We enter through a stunning marble bar, boasting a huge selection of spirits. The handful of green leather stools is occupied by lucky walk-in guests enjoying an aperitif and some delicious-looking dishes. The atmosphere is heady with garlic, truffle and other decadent pleasures.

We move into a dazzling space, decked out in pink and tan hues with huge palm fronds. It’s completely full on a Thursday night and crackles with that new opening vibe.

We are seated and order what turns out to be a couple of very well-made cocktails. My martini is dry, crisp and refreshing and my friend’s negroni hits just the right smoky, tangy tones.

We also browse the wines; one of my hallmarks of a good restaurant is the quality of their house wine and the red here is no exception; juicy with red fruit, and light without being flimsy. The rest of the wine list is an extensive tour of Italy’s finest grapes – at a very reasonable markup, might I add.

Despite having browsed the menu in advance, I’m still a little undecided on our dishes for this evening so the friendly team helps out with some recommendations.
Flatbread topped with cherry tomatoes, garlic and herbs are swiftly delivered to us – whilst a simple dish, it can often be doughy and flavourless. Here, the tomatoes are sweet and salty and the bread is light and crisp with sticky garlic bursts.

Next, we are served some chargrilled avocado with chilli salsa. This method of preparation works very well; the lightly charred edges are offset by the cool creaminess, with the chilli giving a gentle hint of heat as opposed to a punch. It would work well as a lighter side order with meat or fish.

I’ve always loved the comforting ooze of well-made arancini, so I am delighted when three fat egg-shaped ones arrive. They are filled with a juicy beef ragu that packs deep, earthy flavour, infused with a good hit of tomato and seasoning. A real must-try.

I often make a point of ordering a stand-out dish; the one that I believe people will remember this restaurant for. In this case, it is the “Fritto Portofino” – a glorious heap of tempura-covered scallops, king prawns and calamari. The coating is crisp and thin, allowing the delicate flavours to shine through. A squeeze of lemon, garlic aioli and spicy mayonnaise are the perfect accompaniments. Perfetto.

The next dish – truffle and pecorino ravioli – is another serious contender for the best of the evening. This came highly recommended by the team, and it’s easy to see why. The deceptively diminutive dish of three pieces of ravioli is one of the most indulgent things I’ve ever eaten. Beautifully thin, al dente pasta reveals a gorgeous duxelles interior, covered in creamy pecorino sauce and black truffle shavings.

We enjoy some reprieve from rich dishes in the form of seared tuna with gremolata. The herby, zesty salsa is refreshing and cleanses the palate, whilst the tuna is deliciously tender and rare, having barely glimpsed the surface of the pan.

We end with dolci and my friend opts for the tiramisu, which is so creamy and unctuous you can stand your spoon up in it. I go for the table-side churned ice cream with berries and white chocolate sauce. This is beautifully done in a huge bowl carved from ice and there is a wide selection of flavours available. A real crowd-pleaser.

This is a stylish venue that pulls off a substantial, reasonably-priced menu without compromising on quality. The two-storey restaurant accommodates 100 guests, plus there is also a beautiful dining room that can hold 18. A perfect option for a special occasion with a luxurious feel, I’ll be found at the bar with a martini and a Fritto Portofino and no – I’m not sharing.

6 Hans Road, London SW3 1RX
You can follow Katie on IG here: katie.in.london

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