Godfather vibes abound at Harry’s Bar in London’s Marylebone. This classic, classy Italian is all polished glassware, hushed corners and old fashioned charm. Named after the private member’s club in Mayfair this joint oozes Fifties Italian glamour with killer cocktails.
We arrived for dinner on a wintry Sunday evening and even by 6pm the place was abustle. There’s a large canopied outside area perfect for long summer suppers but on this chilly evening we were pleased indeed with our cosy corner table (number 21, it’s the most popular in the restaurant) with its heavy linen and sparkling silverware.
Before that though we spent a spell at the bar so we could sample one of their famous Negronis – gin, vermouth rosso and Campari. We had a classic and a Mistaken For A Lady, which had an added flirt of prosecco and strawberry liquor.
They were delicious and…very potent, so just the one is recommended to whet your appetite.
We began with a bread basket. Like with all Mediterranean dining, there’s no rush and we planned to be there for a while. Spongy focaccia, crisp parmesan-coated breadsticks and crunchy flatbread with a tangy olive tapenade for dipping was the ideal nibble while we decided on the main event.
To start we shared a creamy pillow of Burrata sprinkled with pangrattato and aged balsamic and a lighter option of tuna crudo – raw yellowfin with avocado yoghurt and crushed pistachios. So far so very good.
After a pleasant pause between courses our mains arrived. We were keen to try their speciality, Harry’s Veal Parmesan. A dish that can be marred with too much oil in the breadcrumb, this was light and fresh and accompanied with a fruity tomato sauce. Charred greens with parmesan on the side accompanied it very well.
We highly recommend their maccheroni gratin as an extra. It’s rich, smoky, and gloopy – everything you want a ‘mac n cheese’ to be. We also went for Harry’s rib eye which was juicy and flavoursome, cooked rare and on the bone. It came with chunky rosemary and parmesan chips and olive and tomato salsa. It’s also big, so come hungry.
We were recommended a full bodied red to go with our food and the 2016 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo was just the thing.
When it was time for pudding we kept it classic with a Tiramisu to share. It was gorgeous. One is plenty between two. After, we took a palate-cleansing almond-infused grappa to finish the meal with a nice kick.
Harry’s fare is unfussy and unpretentious but still top quality. By the end of the evening the places was full and we spotted quite a few celebrities in our midst. It’s great for a romantic dinner for two, a lively group gathering or even just somewhere to enjoy a coffee and soak up la dolce vita.
There’s an almost applaudable disregard for low fat, non dairy, gluten free et cetera (though I’m sure the very talented kitchen would accommodate if you so wished) But Harry’s is a place for a treat, for indulgence, you want to leave slightly squiffy and slightly plumper. And that we certainly did.