Caravaggio is situated in the East of the City of London, well and truly in insurance district. The restaurant is situated in a former art deco banking hall, to which a mezzanine level has been added. It succeeds in being formal and friendly at the same time.
The clientele on a Thursday evening following a bank holiday weekend, were largely male and suit dominated. I suspect most people there were on expense accounts.
The chef, Faliero Lenta, has created a modern menu, inspired from all regions of Italy.
To start with we had a ricotta and radicchio ravioli in a butter and sage sauce (£10.50), which was utterly delicious. Bitter radicchio perfectly and balanced and complemented the fresh, creamy ricotta in the well-made silky pasta parcels. I would be delighted to eat this again, as a starter or main.
Herb crusted beef carpaccio with shimeji mushrooms, parmesan and rocket (£10.90) started off promisingly, beautifully presented, with wafer thin and flavoursome beef with a lovely herby crust. I found the shimeji mushrooms disappointing, and the dish was doused with a little too much dressing. I have a ferocious appetite, but this was a gargantuan first course.
The roast cod with courgette flower sauce (£17.00) was fantastic, the cod firm and flavoured, the sauce delicate and vibrant (although it had just started to separate), we had forgotten just how good great tomatoes can taste. Possibly, the batter on the courgette flower was a little too heavy.
I had the classic Milanese veal escalope (£18.00), which was the best I have ever had. Thin tender veal, covered with a crunchy, crispy salted batter filled my plate. A triumph that I would return for. Equally good were the deep-fried courgettes (£3.80), with just the right amount of thin crispy batter, I could easily eat these everyday. We pondered ordering a second bowl.
For pudding a classic tiramisú (£6.50), was good, but was a touch light on the coffee and alcohol. I loved my passion fruit parfait with a pomegranate and berry coulis (£6.50) it was excellent, creamy and bursting with fruit, and enough to inspire me to try to recreate it at home.
Our food was perfectly paired with a delicious dry Italian blush rose, chosen by the knowledgable sommelier.
For grappa aficionados, there is an excellent selection, which I am told by those who know more of grappa than I do, contains some very special labels.
Also available is a very reasonable 2 course set menu with a choice of 2 starters and mains (oddly not puddings) for £16.50 for both lunch and dinner.
Service was attentive but unobtrusive, although the restaurant did know we were there to review.
Great for business, or for grand Italian food in the City, but not the best for a date.
Fuss Free Flavours was the guest of Caravaggio. Thank you for a delightful evening.