We first came across Babbo, an Italian restaurant around the corner from The Ritz, a few years ago after it was on Masterchef the Professionals. We used to go fairly regularly until one day we arrived and there was another restaurant in its place…. I remember very clearly because it was on my ‘favourite Italian restaurants in London‘ blog post and then I had to remove it!
Well, I’m delighted to say that it’s back. It actually reopened in 2018 but somehow we missed the memo!
It’s had a makeover too, with an eclectic interior filled with custom street art by Spanish graffiti artist Victoriano, which draws on Italian cinema. I won’t lie… I’m not enamoured by the decor and preferred how it used to look however, it’s the food we’re most interested in! We’ve been twice now so this post encompasses dishes for both visits.
If you’re lucky when you visit, you’ll spot the gorgeous Fiat 500 outside which is affectionately named Luigi. What I wouldn’t give to take Luigi for a spin! How cute is the little picnic basket on the back?
The Head Chef at Babbo is Nicola Carigla, who is from Southern Italy and draws inspiration from the south of Italy and the Mediterranean for his cooking. The bread and pasta is made fresh every day and only the best produce is used, which is carefully selected from quality suppliers.
The bread is absolutely delicious, with a selection including grissini (breadsticks) and the fluffiest focaccia. Paired with quality Extra Virgin olive oil and some balsamic vinegar from Modena, it’s heaven. We like to order some Mortadella to go with it too, which is from Bologna where my husband is from. They serve it with chunks of Parmesan and a side dish of cornichons, which is not traditional but I think it goes really well.
If the winter truffle arancini are on the menu when you visit, you MUST get them. They are little pillows of deliciousness! I do like truffle but I’m not keen when it overpowers a dish and I can honestly say that it doesn’t – and we’ve ordered this twice so I can say this with confidence. They are so moreish!
I don’t know why but whenever we go to Italian restaurants (which is every Saturday basically), we have to order three starters! We also ordered the Burrata with heritage tomatoes, cucumber and croutons for texture. A lovely refreshing dish – I thought the cucumber went really well. It looks so pretty too.
As I mentioned, the pasta is made fresh every day and you can tell. The portions are a little on the small side so if you’re hungry, maybe order three to share between the two of you. Or order more starters!
On our last visit I ordered the gnocchi with cime di rapa (the tips of turnips), mussels and breadcrumbs. It was very green! It reminded me of Brussels sprouts *which I love, FYI. It was really good and not too bitter, which sometimes cime di rapa can be.
My husband ordered the cacio e pepe, one of his favourite pasta dishes. He really enjoyed it but did say the portion could be bigger (at home he has portions about three times that size!).
On a previous visit I had the Gragnano linguine with lobster. I do love pasta with lobster and this did not disappoint. The sauce was lovely and rich, the pasta cooked perfectly and there were big chunky bits of lobster. Yum!
My husband ordered the Tagliatelle with veal sausages, cacioricotta cheese and beef jus. The perfect dish for cold weather! I had to, of course, try some and it was so rich and tasty.
We thoroughly enjoyed both meals at Babbo and are delighted it’s reopened (even though it’s been open almost 2 years now!). The food is really good, the wine perfectly chilled and the service is excellent. We look forward to making it one of our regulars again.