Signor Sassi is a London institution that has been around since 1984 and from 2007 the ownership belonged to the San Carlo Group. It ruffles up the sort of Italian food that ‘Mama’ used to make, comforting, simple, classic, wholesome and above all pretty damn tasty. Format wise you 2 narrow dining spaces as you walk in, warmly hued with dimmed lights, white table cloths, tiled floors and walls peppered with ‘A’ – ‘Z’ list celebrity photographs. It’s a vibrant place full of well heeled folk with suited waiters buzzing around, navigating through the tapered gaps between tables doing their thing and if you’re lucky they’ll congregate and sing you a melody! You might get better Italian fare elsewhere but this London institution tucked away in Knightsbridge Green is worth checking out.
What better way is there to start a meal than bread? I tried the brown variety – not making me want to go back for seconds but it was decent enough. It’s complimentary as is the parmesan and olives.
There is something about this parmesan that makes me keep going back for more – your mouth is greeted with a sweet umami nuttiness – it’s simply alluring and addictive.
These olives are beautiful to look at and taste – I prefer the green one’s.
The menus are extensive to say the least which are split across ‘specials’ that contain more dishes than your average restaurant, the normal menu, the ‘chefs specials’ and your obligatory in season truffle selection.
Things were kicked off with this Primitivo Di Manduria – it was very juicy, full bodied with a long finish.
Tomato Bruschetta also complimentary and a very tasty appetiser. The bread was toasted which made for a perfect transporting device for those sweet chopped tomatoes, basil and olive oil.
Gamberoni Gorgonzola (£12.95). Yes that’s right tiger prawns with gorgonzola cheese. The prawns cooked beautifully, translucent and juicy. However, no offence but I will place this one in the weird pile – the cheese sauce over-powers the prawns and paired with the sweet chilli sauce on the same plate, the flavours clash.
Zitonni Toscanini (£14.80). ‘Long pasta tubes, favourite of the Maestro Toscanini, made with Tuscan spiced sausage, extra virgin olive oil, fresh tomatoes & Tuscan percorino’. This dish was designed to be eaten with a full bodied Italian red, there’s definitely not delicate flavour here – you get the sharp tang of the tomatoes and the robust smokey spicy sausage all nestled into those al dente tubes of deliciousness. My slight quibble though is that the presentation could have been cleaner.
Spaghetti lobster (£26). Sweet, sweet lobster jewelled into those al dente ravelled spaghetti. Cooked with the shell is obviously conducive of more flavour too. It’s a winner. My only gripe is that at a £26 price point there needs to be more lobster.
Capesante al forno (£23.50). Fresh scallops drizzled with lemon, olive oil, parsley, garlic. Baked with bread crumbs. I didn’t get to taste this one sadly.
Abbacchio Lagure (£17.90). Baked rack of lamb with red wine & mixed herbs. A perfect pink in the middle and tender as can be. It was a thing to behold visually too.
Let’s not forget the sides now as they are worthy of a mention. First up is spinach sauté (£3.35) with garlic, chilli and Worchester Sauce. Spinach can be a dark art to cook and it holds a lot of water – I mean come on let’s be honest and say who likes watery spinach? Not here though, it was pitch perfect, full of flavour and a must have.
Fried courgettes (£3.35). Let’s not underestimate how good these are especially with the crisp yet light batter, concealing those sweet slithers of courgette. I didn’t stop until they were all gone!
An extra special mention needs to go to our front of house manager ‘Dino’. He knew the extensive menu like the back of his hand and likewise for the wines and their particular regions.
When did I go? Mid Nov 2015
The damage: Expect to pay £65-£80 per head with wine.
The good: Classic Italian cooking with brisk and knowlegeable service (Dino was on point). It’s particularly entertaining when all the waiters congregate and sing! The must haves include the lobster spaghetti (you can’t beat the classics) as are spinach and courgette sides.
The bad: I was too full for desert and the menus is far too busy. Avoid the prawns with gorgonzola.
13-14 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7QL
Phone: 020 7584 2277