St Christopher’s Place has long been one of the West End’s buzzy dining districts, with a long-standing Carluccio’s at its heart for many, many years. That however has now departed and made way for an altogether more upmarket Italian dining experience; one that we urge you to try and get a booking at.
Isola by San Carlo is the new arrival from the award-winning and family-run San Carlo Group – the brains behind Alto and its Dior pop-up - brings a much needed dose of la dolce vita to London with stunning interiors and a vibrant menu inspired by the islands of southern Italy.
Designed by LA and London-based studio of the moment Fettle, Isola’s interiors take their cue from the Distefano family’s heritage and native Sicily; think lemon hued walls, pistachio deckchair stripes, traditional Italian rattan and crockery from the Amalfi coast. It’s nothing short of stunning. The aperitivo bar opens up into a main dining room that takes you straight to an Italian terrace on a summer’s evening. Utterly dreamy.
Inspired by Sicily and summers spent on the islands, the menu is filled with Italian favourites, bold flavours, regional specialities and comforting classics. We tucked in to a creamy burrata served with delicious cherry tomatoes, a pillowy soft foccacia and some fantastic prosciutto before our mains; come summer the plant-covered outdoor terrace will be the ideal pit stop for enjoying said nibbles with a crisp Italian white and watching the world go by.
A wonderfully buttery dover sole, accompanied with capers, was perfectly filleted in front of us and deliciously accompanied with a warming fennel and potato gratin with béchamel and pecorino and freed courgette marinated in garlic, mint, and white wine vinegar. The half lobster - in all its garlicky glory - was devoured and the dolci were unsurprisingly out of this world. The lemon tiramisu is at once creamy, tangy and a much missed taste of summer, while the vanilla panna cotta with winter berries was almost obscenely creamy.
A delicious new addition to St Christopher’s Place; this is definitely the Italian restaurant central London needed.