There is a lot to be said for established classic restaurants that go under the radar but year after year continue to make their customers happy and do great things. Opened in 1946, Franco’s restaurant in Mayfair is very much a reputable classic and also one of London’s most authentic Italian restaurants.
We arrived on a midweek lunchtime to sample the vegetarian menu at Franco’s. The restaurant had a real buzz full of locals, regulars and fans of proper Italian cooking. The atmosphere was elegant with pristine white table cloths and immaculate service with a smile.
Neighboured by tailors, hotels and galleries, it is hard to find fully vegetarian menus of this quality and depth in Mayfair with over 10 starter and 7 main course options available. This extensive vegetarian menu is available every day for lunch and dinner.
The bread basket is worth a mention. Make sure you try some grissini and focaccia dipped in cold pressed olive oil. To start with, we shared creamy, buttery burrata cheese with roasted pumpkin, almonds & balsamic vinegar. An artichoke, rocket & parmesan salad combined such simple elements to create a combination of flavours that embodied great Italian tastes in one mouthful.
For mains, a vegan spaghetti with courgette, garlic and chilli was so moreish. Home made fresh spaghetti was cooked al dente and every strand coated with plenty of garlic and ribbons of nutty courgette. Incidentally, white truffle can also be shaved at your table on any dish of your choice. The vegetarian lasagne made with courgettes, mushrooms, carrots and béchamel sauce was refined yet delicately rich. We also had a taste of the green vegetable risotto with lashings of parmesan.
We had the pleasure of taking desserts and coffee (tiramisu is a must order and one of the best in London!) downstairs in an impressive private dining room. The room is versatile and can be used for dinners (up to 55 people on 5 tables), presentations or even as an intimate post wedding gathering place.
One of the most fun nights of the year, Franco’s is famed for their annual rosé wine list launch evening (on 30 April 2019) where you can taste 50 plus selected rosé wines across two floors with delicious canapes all evening. The main wine list also boasts over 25 wines by the glass and an extensive by the bottle list, showcasing Italy’s wide diversity of grapes and wines.
Head Chef Stefano Turconi summed it up well saying, “I personally love meat and fish however in advance of creating this exciting menu I chose to adopt a plant-based lifestyle for three months, where I was able to really appreciate and understand what people enjoy eating.” We at Luxury Chapter echo this approach to eating, especially as the flavours throughout the vegetarian menu at Franco’s are so true to real Italian cooking, all served in a charming manner.
By Mark Captain