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Review in a few: Cantinetta Antinori, Knightsbridge

Cantinetta Antinori  (Courtesy )
Cantinetta Antinori (Courtesy )

As someone whose family regularly argues over how long to boil an egg, I find the fact that 26 generations of the Antinori family have managed to produce wine as baffling as Simon Cowell’s penchant for cheek filler. According to the last ones standing, this is down to ‘a constant stream of innovation’, though something tells me it’s difficult to stay angry while enjoying Tignanello and tortelli in the Tuscan countryside. And after a particularly bleak month stranded on British soil, this is exactly the sort of mood-management I’m after.

 (Courtesy)
(Courtesy)

Enter: the family’s Knightsbridge restaurant where upstairs in a corner, surrounded by decor that mixes the Orient-Express and a Far Far Away castle, the three of us quickly slip into holiday mode thanks to gleaming, tomato-flecked focaccia and the fizz of Franciacorta. If you hadn’t already gathered from the name, interiors and postcode, this is not the place for a cheap and cheerful supper. In fact, a dinner here may set you back more than flights to Pisa. The upshot? It’s far less faff.

Cantinetta Antinori (Courtesy)
Cantinetta Antinori (Courtesy)

King prawns arranged like synchronised swimmers in a pool of vivid green, basil-scented oil and thin slices of veal fillet drizzled in a lattice of tuna and caper sauce make trustworthy, fuss-free precursors to the primi. And it’s here where the ‘innovation’ comes in: alongside linguine tossed in a sweet lobster and cherry tomato bisque, Kobe beef carbonara is a deliciously quirky surprise, coating thick tubes of paccheri with the same silken, fatty richness of the Roman specialty, while being just a touch more savoury. A distinctly parched serving of beef fillet is this Italian holiday’s rainy day, though a deeply saucy merlot-braised veal osso bucco with crisp saffron rice is a life raft. That and the table-side pistachio tiramisu — which I would grab on to any day.

4 Harriet St, SW1 (cantinetta-antinori.uk)