Dinner at the Baglioni Hotel

Only a stone’s throw from beautiful Kensington Palace, the Baglioni Hotel is all marble floors and glamorous setting – the perfect place to spend a few hours with good people.

Disclaimer: We were invited guests of the Baglioni Hotel but all preponderances are resolutely my own.

In fact, I’d go so far to say that Brunello restaurant is somewhere to go only with good people – aka. the kind that are willing to share their dishes with you.

We went on a grey late winter’s day – one of those ones that promises so much, but ends up in a chilly fog that seems to suck all of the sunshine out of your soul (and makes taking photos rather frustrating – so apologies in advance!)

We (Aftab, Binny and I) began as all good meals do, with glasses of bubbly in our hands, this time Ferrari, a metodo classico sparkling wine that lit up our early evening – not to mention the incredibly generous platter of hors-d’oeuvres that comes from the kitchen in true Italian style.

Repairing to our table after the pre-dinner repast, we ordered another round of refreshments, whilst we perused the lengthy menu. Actually making a decision was difficult, in fact we ended up ordering based on a joint/barter basis so we could try as many different flavours as possible.

The bread was warm, crusty mini-loaves that any Italian Mama would be proud to call her – and were dipped in pure olive oil, making me yearn for a return trip to Italy sooner rather than later.

Our already four-course meal began with an surprise amuse bouche of carrot rolled in crumb, with sweet potato crisps, lychee puree and glazed hazelnuts, tickling our palettes.

Our shared starters were of fresh burrata served with roasted tomatoes, taggiasche olives and mixed leaves; tender beef carpaccio with fresh artichoke & parmesan…

… and an intriguing Venetian pasta with borlotti beans, thyme oil and parmesan cheese.

For our pasta course (when in Kensington/Rome etc.) I eventually chose the pretty homemade crab ravioli with prawns, courgettes and spring onion, Aftab opted for the recommended black truffle risotto with 24 month aged parmesan cheese, and Binny enjoyed cacio e pepe with homemade Italian taglioni pasta. All of our plates were enthusiastically cleared, and we may or may not have snuck forkfuls of the others whilst they were distracted.

We were so undecided about our mains, that Aftab and I decided to split the aubergine parmigiana and the roasted lamb served with truffle potatoes, plus a thyme and potato sauce – and it was the best decision that we’d made all week.

Binny loved her choice of breaded prawns with aromatic herbs, celery and a green apple cream.

Despite being as full as proverbial eggs, we all ordered desserts (because when in Italy, right?) and the classic tiramisu that landed in front of me was as good as any that I’ve tried ever before – in Italy and beyond. It was a perfect combination of rich flavours and cheeky delight. Across the table my dates didn’t have such good luck with their desserts, so I graciously shared a few spoonfuls of my tiramisu.

For a better idea of the interiors, peek at the Baglioni afternoon tea offerings that I tried with another friend last year – it is rather sumptious. Fit for a queen (or princess with a shopping habit!)

I think if I had to pick just one cuisine for the rest of my life, it would be Italian; pizza, pasta, generous portions, delicious desserts and ingredients that share a little of the Italian countryside. What about you?