With existing outlets in Milan and Rome, the Italian brand selected Harrods as the setting for their first overseas outpost, hitching their wagon to the store’s cosmopolitan and well-heeled patrons who may be tempted to put down their shopping bags in exchange for a truly indulgent meal.
Indulgence would be one way of describing the orgy of truffle-based dishes we lapped up during a recent visit to the restaurant, nestled on Harrods’ lower ground floor. As dedicated lovers of these sought-after gourmet mushrooms, another would be ‘heaven’.
The stylish, wood pannelled dining room is a worthy setting for such extravagance, which began with starters of beef carpaccio with parmesan and fresh truffle and Bufala Burrata cheese with truffle honey and – you guessed it – fresh truffle. The thinly sliced raw beef was fresh and fatless, while the truffle boasted the earthy, sensuous flavour that aficionados adore. My companion’s creamy buffalo cheese was elevated by the savoury richness of the truffle honey.
As is traditional, second courses of pasta were next up, with simple dishes of handmade Tagliolini propelled to great heights by the inclusion of more lashings of intensively flavoured white truffle.
For mains, rossini beef fillet and foie gras in a red wine sauce with fresh black truffle was melt-in-your-mouth tender, the buttery goose liver adding an extra layer of richness without overwhelming – testament to the quality of the ingredients. A burger with foie gras, sweet onion marmalade, mustard mayonnaise and black truffle was equally impressive in its delicate blend of powerful flavours.
By this point, desserts were wholly unnecessary, but that is rarely an effective deterrent. Our gluttony was rewarded by a pleasing vanilla ice cream with truffle honey, dried figs and pine nuts while an apple pie with crispy almonds and vanilla ice cream offered further evidence that Tartufi & Friends is more than a one-trick pony.
Wines were well paired with our dishes throughout, most notably an excellent Gewürztraminer from Alsace with our pasta course and a rich, deep Barolo with the beef-heavy mains.
In a world full of gimmicky concept restaurants, Tartfui & Friends is the real deal. A menu that feels authentic to its Italian roots combined with top class ingredients and considerate use of one of the world’s great delicacies makes it well worthy of a trip into the inner sanctum of London’s most famous retail temple.