By Katie Wilson
As far as London hotel restaurants go, Sette is up there. Tucked away in the five-star Bulgari Hotel a few minutes walk from Knightsbridge Tube station, you might not notice it from the street.
Though it has its own private entrance, we’d recommend walking through the luxurious lobby and Bulgari Lounge to get to the elegant bar you can visit just for a drink. Diners are led through to the glamorous Sette restaurant, the first international location of New York’s Scarpetta restaurants, now also found in Rome, Tokyo and Doha.
The dining room is fancy with a mix of tables and banquette seating framed by the rectangular chandelier-style lighting above. For larger groups or special occasions, book one of the booth seats in the corner that look perfect for birthdays.
We visit on a Thursday night and the restaurant looks especially atmospheric in candlelight. The food here, like the original New York outposts, is Italian and trust us, you’ll want to order a Negroni here.
While Scarpetta is derived from the Italian expression ‘fare la scarpetta’, meaning to savour a meal to the very last bite, Sette is Italian for the number seven, a nod to the fact it is the restaurant group’s seventh location.
Expect signature dishes the restaurants have become known for, such as the ‘Scarpetta’ Spaghetti (£25), a simple but tasty spaghetti with tomato and basil sauce cooked for hours to get it just right. New menu additions include the Crudi section featuring Japanese Wagyu Beef served ceremoniously at the table on a block of Himalayan Salt ‘in smoke’ (£36).
Starters range from Creamy Polenta with Truffled Mushroom (£18) to Braised Short Rib (£23) and Charred Octopus (£25). We’d recommend the Seared Orkney Scallops with Cauliflower Puree, Roasted Cauliflower and Capers Dressing (£26), which didn’t last long on the plate. You get four scallops, which is more than most starter portions.
For mains there is the choice of classic homemade pasta dishes or meats from the grill, such as Pastrami Rib-Eye Steak (£60) or sharing dishes like the Tomahawk for two (£122). On the night, we opted to try the two fish dishes on the menu, the Black Cod (£44) and the must-try John Dory, which comes served with clams (£36).
Make sure to leave room for dessert (from £12), as Sette really knows what it’s doing when it comes to the sweet stuff. There is classic New York Cheesecake through to Italian Gelato and Panettone with Pistachio Cream. They usually have a dessert special on too.
Being in Knightsbridge and the Bulgari Hotel, it’s fair to say Sette isn’t the cheapest of restaurants. But as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for, and it’s sure to impress for date nights or special occasions.
Never underestimate a good set menu, as the one at Sette sounds great and features their signature ‘Scarpetta’ Spaghetti. Available Tuesday to Friday from 12pm to 3pm, two courses are £36pp, or get three for £42pp.
Their New York Brunch served at weekends is another set menu starting from £49 for two courses. Signature dishes include American Pancakes, Crispy Chicken and Waffle and the Bagel Tower to share. Push the boat out and make it bottomless for £60pp. If you’re visiting in the evening, grab a nightcap at Sette’s ‘underground’ lounge, Nolita Social afterwards.
Best for: Date night, special occasion, birthday party
Sette is at the Bulgari Hotel at 4 Knightsbridge Green, London SW1X 7QA and is open daily for breakfast 7am to 12pm, Monday to Friday for lunch 12pm to 3.30pm, Monday to Saturday for dinner 6pm to 10.30pm and Saturday and Sunday brunch 12pm to 3pm
Prices start at £36 for a two-course set lunch and £49 for a two-course New York brunch with live music. Starters on the a la carte menu start from £18 and £25 for a main
Wine starts at £13 per glass and £18 a cocktail. Delicious non-alcoholic cocktails also available
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