Surprisingly, another new restaurant has opened in Chelsea this year with barely no whisper of its arrival. The brains behind this plush new opening is Alexis Gauthier of Gauthier Soho and head chef Manuel Oliveri – who also came from Gautier restaurant and previously working in Italy at Gualtiero Marchesi’s Ristorante di Erbusco in Milan. The hotel No11 Cadogan Gardens, bar and restaurant are all very typical of Chelsea. A quick drink in the gorgeous wooden paneled bar where some of the finest cocktails I have had are mixed up – you’ll soon fall in love with the location.
Two grilled Scottish scallops, cooked to perfection were as soft as butter and expertly cooked. Accompanying the scallops was a crunchy fennel, radish and orange salad then finished with some toasted pine nuts and coral juice. It was all very fresh and tasted like the sea – but it did have quite a pungent sea smell which could be a little off putting for some. The sauce was light and silky but maybe a little too thin – the dish could have been so much more, and very easily so – a smokey grill would have been the key.
Cooking pasta is definitely Tartufo’s strongest point. I had a light tortellini with summer truffle, fresh walnut and mascarpone – it was rather amazing. The pasta was incredibly light and didn’t fall to pieces when picked up. The filling was creamy, nutty and full of flavour while the sauce was pure indulgence. It was a heavenly dish coated in a blanket of truffles – if i could eat this every day, i would. If you go to Tartufo then make sure you order this dish.
The roasted guinea fowl breast for our meat dish was very well cooked but the meat itself lacked in flavour. Girolle mushrooms, sauteed spinach and an exquisite red pepper marmalade that complimented the guinea fowl beautifully. Everything was well cooked and very tasty in this dish but i rather think all the ingredients and flavours would have been more well suited to a medium rare slither of veal, especially the marmalade.
Melt in your mouth short neck of lamb was next out and there was no skimping on portion sizes. Succulent slices of perfectly cooked lamb sat covering a bed of fennel courgette and peas, thyme & parmesan gratin with a side of garlic jersey potatoes. The potatoes were awful, they had that pre-cooked, cold wrinkledness to it and flavour was lacking in every way. It was a real shame as the rest of the dish was excellent and those potatoes really made a downer on the dish.
Perhaps one of the best desserts i have sampled all year was Tartufo’s dark chocolate crunch filled with walnut and a smooth praline, all covered in a silky glistening chocolate glaze and a side of lemon ice. The best way to describe it would be a gourmet version of a cadburys wafer bar but raised to new heights – it was simply stunning.
Tartufo is a gem in the Chelsea area, for a postcode which houses some of the wealthiest people it surprisingly lacks in really good food and is full of mediocre restaurants which are still either stuck in the 90’s or charging way too much money. Tartufo is still young and although it’s not perfect i can see this place going far and gaining the recognition it deserves. Even with the chef working in a michelin star restaurant i still don’t think it’s at the level yet. I dined here previously to this post, and had a slightly different food offering – which was excellent. Tartufo has been getting rave reviews and i think a lot of it is down to the pasta, which is outstanding.