Signor Sassi is a Knightsbridge institution that has been around since 1984. 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, there are two narrow dining spaces as you walk in, warmly hued with dimmed lights, white table clothes, tiled floors and walls peppered with ‘A’ to ‘Z’ listed celeb’s photos who once ate here. 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. 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.
I’ve since been back – the evidence can be scrutinised by clicking here.
The walls are decorated with famous faces who have dined here.
Looks like quite a few well heeled folk eat here.
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 filled with its savoury umami nuttiness – it was simply addictive.
These olives are beautiful to look at and to taste – I preferred the green ones.
The menus are extensive to say the least, they are split across the ‘specials’ which has more dishes than a John Lewis department store. There’s also their standard menu, the ‘chefs specials’ and your obligatory ‘in season’ truffle menu.
There’s even a bit of Kobe in their chef’s specials – I’m not sure how legit their license is!
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 biscuit-like toasted bread was the perfect vehicle to carry those sweet chopped tomatoes, which are seasoned with basil and olive oil.
Gamberoni Gorgonzola (£12.95). Yes that’s right, tiger prawns with gorgonzola cheese. The prawns were cooked beautifully, translucent and juicy. However, the dish belongs in the weird pile for me. Cheese is just a plain ‘NO’ with prawns, and that Thai style sweet chilli sauce only adds to the 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 tighter.
Spaghetti lobster (£26). Sweet, sweet lobster at one with the al dente spaghetti. Cooking 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. Visually, it was a thing to behold.
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 as 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) came crisp with a light batter, just enough to cover those sweet slithers of courgette. I didn’t stop until they were all gone!
An extra special mention needs to go to our maitre’d ‘Dino’. He knew the extensive menu like the back of his hand, likewise for the wines & their particular regions. His charm and slick service enhanced our meal no end.
When did I go? Nov 2015 and also July 2019 – that review can be seen here.
The damage: Expect to pay £65-£80 per head with wine.
The good: Classic Italian cooking with old school Italian charm, 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
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