A new Italian restaurant has opened in the heart of the City. Except Gatti’s is really a veteran that has been serving traditional Italian food to its loyal London clienteles in Broadgate Circle for over 15 years. The new Gatti’s is in essence a rebirth of the restaurant, retaining the old team, at a new location – still walkable from Liverpool Street. The juxtaposition does not end here. Gatti’s City Point is a mere 2 minute walk from Moorgate Station, yet it manages to remain a little tucked away from the throngs of the city.
The evening was bright yet chilly as I arrived at Gatti’s City Point for a special tasting event.
Flanked by Amber Bar and Pret, Gatti’s polished glass exterior looks more like a bar than a restaurant, and indeed the ground floor is dominated by its bar area. The patio offers a few tables – perfect in the summer even in the evening (when the only place you’d find a dark sky in London is in Pokemon Go), whether for after work drinks or al fresco dining. Once you step inside, there are stools along the bar, but otherwise seating is sparse, giving the whole floor a modern and airy feel.
There is a cloakroom near the stairway, marking the transition from bar to restaurant, and on the way towards the main restaurant, there is also a private room with clean and simple decor for up to 10 people.
It is downstairs in the main restaurant that you can fully appreciate the character of Gatti’s. The restaurant is named after Luigi Gatti, manager of The Ritz, the exclusive First Class restaurant (on top of the already sumptuous First Class dining saloon) on board the Titanic. Downstairs, with the rich, maroon carpeted floor and hints of gold gives the room a timeless elegance. While it is unexpectedly roomy and large enough to host parties and events, the exposed bricks on one side of the wall also gives it a more rustic, cosy and homely feel.
The tables are set with a crisp and clean elegance, the plates are all bespoke and printed with the Gatti’s name, and instead of flowers, you get a vase of homemade grissini! But before we move onto nibbles, first, the drinks!
The Veuve Clicquot Rich was going to be a different experience from a standard flute of champagne. What gave it away might have been the playful orange and silver bottle, or the large glasses of ice cubes, or, perhaps, the plates of peppers, cucumber and celery with no hummus in sight.
Drinking it neat, the champagne is very sweet, and this makes it perfect on ice. The idea behind this drink is to reinvent champagne as a go-to in mixology… except no complicated cocktail shaking required! You simply drop whatever you prefer into the glass of champagne and ice, and swirl.
Gatti’s offered red, yellow and green peppers, celery, cucumber and pineapple. I tried the pineapple (close your eyes and imagine the beach) and the cucumber (my favourite – so refreshing and, well, can champagne taste healthy?) The champagne instantly took on the flavours of the fruits and veg, even with just two sticks of cucumber.
This feels like a more sophisticated twist on Pimm’s – very much a fun summery drink, perhaps for a BBQ party where everyone can try a different flavour just by dropping something different in the glass. And any leftover crudités? Serve it with hummus!
A glass of the Veuve Clicquot Rich is included at Gatti’s with the 3 course set menu (priced at £34.99) . You can also find it at specialist shops and places like Selfridges.
The champagne went down far too easily, and I’d have been happily sipping away for if it weren’t for the reminder that we were there for a full tasting experience. Taking advantage of the move from Broadgate to City Point, Gatti’s has preserved its classics but also used it as a chance to innovate. The set menus reflect this: alongside the a-la-carte, the restaurant offers two set menus: The Classic Menu and The Contemporary Menu. We were here to try the combined menu featuring best-loved dishes from both.
Chef’s amuse-bouche: mousse with parmesan and black truffles
After the homemade bread with butter (the olive bread was lovely and soft), we kick-started our culinary journey with this little amuse-bouche. The topping is very generous with the black truffle, and you can instantly tell that Gatti’s places a lot of emphasis on using the best ingredients in their cooking. The kitchen showed us the black truffles they use here – kept on rice to preserve their aroma.
Starter: Tartara di manzo Scozzese (beef tartare, poached quail’s egg, rocket, parmesan, béarnaise sauce)
My pick is from the contemporary menu, and you’d only order steak tartare if you trust the restaurant to use high quality beef – which you do at Gatti’s. It came beautifully presented, and the beef is nicely chilled, tender and well-seasoned.
The two poached quail eggs added interest, but as the eggs are so much smaller, the yolks were sadly no longer runny in the middle, and I generally like to have the egg yolk run down my steak tartare as it makes the eggs part of the steak instead of more of a side. If you prefer the same, then it may be worth mentioning this when you order, as the kitchen is very accommodating. The béarnaise sauce was extremely creamy and complimented the beef perfectly, so I enjoyed the starter no less.
Other starters available included grilled scallops with asparagus, ginger, garlic and fresh chilli dressing with crispy Parma ham – usually part of the classic menu. Food envy!
Palate cleanser: Prosecco sorbet
Presented in a beautiful glass, the prosecco sorbet came with a fresh mint leaf on top. Normally part of the contemporary menu, it was sweet and light, and prepared us for the main…
Main course: Linguine All’Aragosta (linguine with lobster and fresh tomatoes)
The lobster linguini came with strong recommendations. It’s one of the most loved dishes at Gatti’s, and is a star of the classics menu. Generous was the word that came to mind as it was placed in front of me. Often with fine dining and tasting menus, the portions can be small, but not with this linguini. The pasta filled the plate, and brimmed with lobster and tomatoes. Taking a bite, this flavours were not overly complicated – simple, wholesome and good. The only complaint? I couldn’t finish it, because you have to leave room for dessert!
Also available was Filetto di Manzo Scozzese (Scottish beef fillet in a port wine reduction, herbs, served with crispy onion and parmesan gnocci), part of the contemporary menu. The fillet looked thick and juicy – definitely one to try for meat lovers.
Greedy little extra: roast beef from the trolley
Yes… dessert… but the roast looked too good to miss, so we just had to try it. The beef was beautifully pink and tender, and the Yorkshire pudding really stood out (yes, at an Italian restaurant!) as it was so light, fluffy and crispy. Highly recommended!
Dessert: Trio of mini desserts
This counts as one dessert, right? This is usually part of the contemporary menu, though panna cotta and tiramisu are true classics. I tried them from the lightest to the heaviest, and here they are below in reverse order, or rather, my order of preference.
It’s hard to judge the chocolate mousse (which I ate last), as I’m not a big fan of chocolate desserts. The mini portion size works well for this, as it was extremely heavy and sweet. I can imagine it being a hit with chocolate lovers, though it was a little overwhelming after a starter, main and a greedy little roast.
Tiramisu is usually my go-to dessert when ordering at Italian restaurants. Here, the tiramisu was creamy, light, but on the sweeter end. I usually prefer variations with more cocoa on top and liquor at the bottom to balance out the sweetness. Still, I was left craving more by the end of the miniature glass.
Lastly, my favourite: the passion fruit panna cotta. We started the evening with a refreshing, fruity champagne, and it felt right to finish with a refreshing, fruity dessert. The passion fruit taste is very strong at the top, and while the panna cotta itself was on the heavier, creamier side, the touch of sharpness from the passion fruit topping helped to balance it out.
I ended the meal with an espresso – perfect with crema on top. All in all, a lovely experience at Gatti’s, where both the atmosphere and the food, despite the elegance and fancy presentation, made you feel at home, in the best possible way!
Find Gatti’s City Point at:
1 Ropemaker Street
Open Monday to Friday for breakfast, lunch and dinner!Follow @blenderbasil