57 Charlotte Street, W1T 4PD
Cuisine Type: Italian
Just a stone’s throw from Tottenham Court Road, Charlotte Street seems to be packed with restaurants. But sitting in the stretch between Goodge Street and Tottenham Street, Pescatori is among Charlotte Street’s longest established restaurants having been serving Italian cuisine, with a strong leaning towards seafood dishes, for some forty years now. As you enter this double fronted restaurant it has an open feel with well spaced seating, including some very nice circular booths to one of the walls. The decor is fresh and clean mainly white, but with pebble ‘mosaic’ effect to some walls as well as some marine design features. The restaurant has an open kitchen to the rear where you can see the chefs at work preparing your meal; it’s a comfortable and relaxed setting.
Although there are meat options on the menu we decided that we’d go with the flow of the restaurant’s principal theme and choose seafood dishes for starters through to mains. Pescatori has daily specials; there were some six seafood specials on the evening we were there and we decided to share one of these, grilled queen scallop skewers as a starter dish, before moving on to a pasta dish, and then to mains. The scallop dish was lovely, chunky little pieces of scallop threaded onto rosemary stalk and beautifully char grilled, giving the sweet little morsels some nice slightly smoky caramelisation that contrasted well with their sweetness. They were accompanied by skewers of nicely al dente char grilled vegetables, and sat on a nicely dressed crunchy salad. We loved it, and it was certainly a great way to start the meal. The pasta dish Tagliolini al Granchio arrived and the perfectly cooked tagliolini, dressed with crab, garlic chilli, fennel seeds and lemon zest was excellent. The subtle flavour of the white crab meat was lifted, but not overshadowed, by the other ingredients, allowing it to be centre stage and the other component parts just making an appearance on the palate, giving the dish some good depth.
For mains I had the orata al forno, oven baked whole sea bream with rosemary lemon and garlic, It was an heroic sized fish delicately flavoured by its seasonings: the flesh was cooked perfectly, it was soft, moist and juicy. It was served on a bed of samphire that still had some crunch after its cooking and gave a nice salty contrast to the delicate fish. Phillip tried the gamberi gigante, grilled large fresh water prawn with garlic butter, which had a good meatiness and great flavour to it, the garlic working well with the prawn, as you might expect. He also tried the fritto misto, battered and deep fried seafood, zucchini and artichoke, served with aioli and some crisp salad leaves. The zucchini had good bite to it, and the artichoke was nicely chunky, supporting some well cooked squid and a good piece of full flavoured white fish. This is a big, rustic looking dish, served in a brown paper bag, split open, giving a bit of a seaside feel to it. The fritto misto varies according to the seasons, and is definitely one for the adventurous and hungry.
We made our way through to dessert – I just couldn’t resist the gnocchi di latte, which I can best describe as a fairly solid custard that’s been bruléed, and glazed with a dark rum syrup, then served with slivers of cooked apple. It was divine, a great creation that I’d happily have again and again. Phillip had the ciliege and mandorle, a really good cherry and almond torte, its pastry case amply coated with cherries, covered with a blanket of soft moist frangipane and accompanied with a very nice mascarpone ice cream. These were two great desserts.
Pescatori has a good selection of wines by the glass as well as by the carafe and bottle. We had a glass each of a vibrantly acidic and fruity Spa Valley Sauvignon Blanc with starters and a bottle of La Segreta Rosso, which had bright red fruits and some nice peppery heat, with our mains. The staff at Pescatori were accommodating and very helpful adjusting and tailoring dishes to customers’ wishes. We enjoyed our meal there very much indeed, the atmosphere and the food were both great. Starters at Pescatori are around the £9 mark, pasta dishes about £15 and Mains around £18. Desserts come in at around £6 and wines range upwards from just over £21.
Pescatori has a sister restaurant in Dover Street, Mayfair and during this July you can enjoy a free bottle of La Segretta wine with your meal, which has a normal retail price of at least £27.50 at either restaurant. All you need do is download a voucher from the Pescatori site.