Tempo, W1

Tempo 221x300 Tempo, W1Whilst a dining experience is ultimately about food, restaurateurs often overlook the fact that the service and hospitality side of things can be the making or breaking of a successful meal.  For a real masterclass in a welcoming dining experience, budding restaurant owners need look no further than Tempo.

The driving force behind Tempo is industry stalwart Henry Togna, who until recently owned 22 Jermyn Street, an iconic luxury townhouse hotel which had been in his family since 1915. Leading by example for his professional team, Henry greets his way around the dining room like he is welcoming old-friends into his home.  The restaurant itself is also set-up to provide a cosy and relaxed environment in which to enjoy an evening.

Head first to the upstairs bar and you will be met with one of London’s best kept secrets.  Contemporary meets 19th century charm as three deep Chesterfield sofas and modern swivel chairs take pride of place in front of a fireplace and a Rococo revival wall and ceiling mouldings.  Open from 10.00am for coffees until 11.00pm for wine, cocktails and little bites, the bar provides a great place for meetings, a romantic drink or as a private space to entertain friends.

The restaurant is an equally inviting and fun place to dine, especially if you visit during one of their live music nights.  The kitchen is looked after by Head Chef Yoshi Yamada. Perhaps not the most conventional choice for an Italian restaurant given that he is Japanese born, but Yamada has spent considerable time cooking in Michelin starred restaurants across Italy, as well as at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.  Yamada’s menu focuses on unpretentious rustic dishes cooked with top quality ingredients.

Your meal could start with nibbling on flavour packed Cicchetti (Italian small plates) such as Calabrian Pork Sausage and Grilled Porcini, before moving onto starters of Swordfish carpaccio. Pro-eaters will no doubt want to indulge in a mid-course of Wild rabbit, pistachio, sage butter tortelli or Butternut squash risotto.  Mains include Grilled halibut with cavolo nero & wild mushrooms, Fish stew and Braised lamb shank.  Dishes are well cooked, with light and clean flavours that you may expect of a chef with a Japanese background.  Desserts take a far more indulgent approach, with dishes such as Pear & almond tart and Chocolate fondant.  The wine list provides a number of interesting options, with an eclectic selection of 65 wines, primarily featuring top small producers from Italy.

Food: 3.5/5
Venue: 3/5
Value: 3/5

Cuisine type: Italian
Food: £70
Wine: £5
Cocktails: £7.50

54 Curzon Street
Tel: 020 7629 2742

minilink Tempo, W1