Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 11:14AM
How the people behind Babbo got away with taking the name of one of the most famous Italian restaurants in NYC's name, I don't know. All I know is that ever since it opened, its been on my list, just like the one in NYC. Deep in the heart of Mayfair, the crowd is surprisingly un-scene - a mix of business people, and older couples - not a flash of a red sole in sight. As per usual, I was optimistic about Babbo, mainly because of a) the name b) this interview here, in which the chef states his favourite restaurant is La Petite Maison. As we already agree on what a good dining experience is - this was clearly going to be the place for me. Sadly, fate just didn't want me and Babbo to have that special connection. Our experience was one of the most disappointing I've had in a while.
It's the little things in restaurants that make them great. It's the pulling out of a table that makes it ever so slightly easier to fit in the six inch gap between the tightly packed tables, avoiding the awkward "ass in dining neighbour's face" moment. It's the remembering to put bread plates on the table. It's providing the appropriate cutlery.It's serving food that's warmer than the plate it's served on. Little things, that are definitely not hard to do. At Babbo, they failed at every single hurdle.
The bread that arrived complimentary was the only excellent food we ate that night. Focaccia had a sponge like texture and was moist without dripping in olive oil but the amuse bouche that arrive shortly after was unmemorable.
The Boyfriend's meatballs with tomato and buratta sauce, proved to be a better choice. The sauce was well seasoned, and had a nice depth of flavour, and the meat balls were still satisfyingly pink.
By the time for dessert arrived, neither The Boyfriend and I were inclined to try dessert, but two complimentary gasses of limoncello arrived to commiserate us. At least, the bill came without the addition of the offending dish, and came to around £70.00, for the food and two glasses of wine.
I was seriously pissed leaving Babbo on Friday. Not only was I hungry, but I had also wasted my time. Its strange because Babbo gets great reviews, but given our experience I don't think I'll be testing whether this was a one off.