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Belvedere review: The glamorous Holland Park restaurant reopens

With its roaring fires, resident peacocks and lush parkside location, the newly revamped Belvedere might just be the most beautiful restaurant in London

Once one of London’s loveliest spots, for years Belvedere has languished forgotten and unloved on the edge of Holland Park. Now it’s been given a glamorous revamp, taking it back to its former glory – and then some. With its soaring ceilings, impressive arched windows and crackling fires, the dining room is one of the most enchanting in the capital, with the food to match. Here’s why Belvedere is our restaurant of the week. 

Belvedere Restaurant Review: A Glamourous ReopeningPin

There’s a fire blazing in the hearth beside our table at Belvedere, the Italian restaurant that now occupies the grand old ballroom of what was once Holland House in Holland Park. We’re the first table in at lunch, and all the parties that come in afterwards gravitate towards the hearth too. It is a captivating spot. Lello Favuzzi, Belvedere’s Sardinian head chef, tells me that all the restaurants in the group – which includes Wild Tavern and Wild Notting Hill – have fires of some form.

Belvedere Restaurant Review: A Glamourous ReopeningPin

There’s another fire flickering away on the first floor at Belvedere too, in the smaller, perhaps even more charming dining room from which you access the exterior viewing gallery (the ‘belvedere’) of the name. Sometimes, says Favuzzi, peacocks from the Kyoto Garden will fly up and perch on the balustrade. If there’s a more beautiful place to dine in London, I’d like to hear about it. My lunch date, Alexia, is American, and she’s soon reminiscing about her mother taking her, when she was a good little girl, for a treat to the Tavern on the Green in Central Park. 

Belvedere Restaurant Review: A Glamourous ReopeningPin

It would be nice to think Belvedere could become the London equivalent. It so nearly was, when Marco Pierre White ran it, a couple of decades ago. It’s been forgotten about somewhat over the intervening years, but could now be its time? It certainly looks the part, with its good Italianate bones, all lofty ceilings and grand arched windows. It’s had a stunning makeover too, that’s modish without being trendy. I love the ornate carpets on the parquet floors, the giant palms against the terracotta walls, and the curvy rattan furniture and pleated fabrics. 

Belvedere Restaurant Review: A Glamourous ReopeningPin
Head Chef Lello Favuzzi

Favuzzi, who worked at L’Anima under Francesco Mazzei back in the day, has written a menu that will appeal to everybody. The Italian family on the table next to us just order a pizza or two, and some cold cuts to share, whereas Alexia and I are here to try as much as we possibly can. Were I here with a different kind of eater, I’d very happily just split the whole lobster linguine for two, maybe have a steak and a winter tomato salad, Cornish crab spaghetti, or a truffle pizza. But as it is, we experience the menu at its most audacious, starting with a Gillardeau oyster apiece with a chaser of raspberry sorbet. Alexia shudders at the very thought – she lives in France now – but I’m game. I can’t say I’m convinced by the combination, but the flavours don’t half pop. 

Belvedere Restaurant Review: A Glamourous ReopeningPin

Favuzzi is very good at this, we quickly realise. The oysters and raspberry aren’t our thing but the sublime ingredients, vibrant colours, and sharp contrasts are. Langoustine carpaccio with grapefruit, passion fruit, pink pepper, samphire and ponzu is simply delightful, and Favuzzi’s take on the now ubiquitous vitello tonnato, reimagined as a salad with quail’s eggs and pink onions, is ingenious. 

Belvedere Restaurant Review: A Glamourous ReopeningPin

“Langoustine carpaccio with grapefruit, passion fruit, pink pepper, samphire and ponzu is simply delightful, and Favuzzi’s take on the now ubiquitous vitello tonnato, reimagined as a salad with quail’s eggs and pink onions, is ingenious.”

He must have a thing about Schiaparelli pink: there it is in the signature beetroot ravioli, finished tableside with a few drops of twelve-year-old balsamic vinegar, and again in the pickled cauliflower that garnishes a beautiful piece of sea bass with lovage sauce, cooked to perfection. I must not forget to mention the side order we had alongside all this pretty food: Jerusalem artichokes, the least photogenic of vegetables, steamed then deep-fried until they’re better than chips.

Belvedere Restaurant Review: A Glamourous ReopeningPin

Desserts are in a traditional Italian vein. Think cannoli, heavenly clementine sorbet, and Favuzzi’s take on tiramisu which is partially deconstructed but tastes exactly as you’d want it to. Belvedere is also a good place in which to enjoy Italian wine. There’s a page of the list devoted to ‘Italian legends’ including Sassicaia, Tignanello and Barolo. Beautiful drops in a beautiful place.

Belvedere Restaurant Review: A Glamourous ReopeningPin

THE LOWDOWN:

Meal for two (with wine): £200

Signature Dishes: Beetroot Ravioli, Smoked Burrata

What to drink: Italian wine


Abbotsbury Road, Holland Park, London W8 6LU

belvedererestaurant.co.uk

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