Luciano by Gino D’Acampo, Aldwych, London
I’ve always enjoyed the gourmet shenanigans of the effervescent celebrity chef, Gino D’Acampo and so was pleased to dine at his restaurant, Luciano by Gino D’Acampo, in London to enjoy his newly launched Italian menu at this 100-cover restaurant.
We entered into a bold, stunning reception area with thick black wooden furniture with gold flourishes, and this leads to an interior with an entirely different decor of blue pastel and wood.
Incidentally, Luciano by Gino D’Acampo is attached to the ME hotel and gives its address as The Strand, where ME hotel has its entrance. However, Luciano restaurant. which cites the Strand address is actually on Aldwych opposite the Novello theatre.
It was a heady summer evening and the floral displays around the entrance along with the friendly chatter on the terrace outside made this a truly summery alfresco scene. Perhaps they were tucking into one of the salads such as the the Loch Duart salmon comprising avocado, chestnut mushrooms and crispy guanciale or the grilled broccoletti and asparagus with grapes, chickpeas and warm croutons.
Inside, where my table was waiting the decor was convivial and elegant in shades of light blue wallpaper with exotic birds and and oversized wildflowers, seats in light blue soft leather and plus checkered fabric, wood floors and an appealing mirrored ceiling donned with eye-catching cream cone-shaped lamp shades that expelled a pleasing light over the marble-top tables.
There’s also a long bar with comfy stools, where, if you happen to be a little early, you can si[ a Vespa (of James Bond fame) – as we did – or a brand new signature cocktail such as s Lamponi e Rosa, a blend of Bombay Sapphire gin, Hayman’s Sloe gin.
At the far end you can see the chefs whizz around cooking and preparing in the open kitchen
There is background music courtesy of a live DJ, and sometimes I did wonder at his choice of “House Music” the kind that has that loud monotonous beat, that for me is distracting.
The starters are interesting. We chose the fillet steak tartare, Burford Brown egg yolk and the asparagus, poached Burford Brown egg, and pecorino cheese both with the dazzlingly yellow york of the Burford Brown. And both tasted as good as they looked – the tartare was deliciously tangy and came with after thin flat bread which added a crunchy contrast and the asparagus was satisfyingly crispy.
There’s plenty of choice on the new menu include spaghetti with clams, cherry tomato, garlic, chilli and parsley, and a personal favourite of the Italian chef and an entire grilled lobster, in Catalana sauce.
Not partial to seafood we chose Chicken alla Luciano, charlotte potato, lemon, rosemary and the Veal Milanese with crispy zucchini fritti and rosemary potatoes.
VERDICT: There were a couple of very minor gremlins, but mostly this elegant restaurant can best be described by the word Gino D’Acampo has made into his tag line “fantastico’.
More info www.lucianobyginodacampo.com