Visitorsto the Eternal City who have followed the age-old dictum “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”will undoubtedly have tried the city’s best seafood restaurant, AssuntaMadre, a place of pilgrimage for the cognoscenti in itssetting near the famous Campo de’ Fiori.
But2014 will bring its famed dishes of raw prawns or shrimps, risottoalla pescatora or tagliolini with lobster much closerto home for British travellers, when the restaurant ventures outside Rome for the first time and opens this month on London’s Blenheim Street, in the heart of Mayfair.
Theauthenic Italian experience seems guaranteed, with the London restaurant beingrun by largely the same team as the Roman one. Founder Giovanni Micalusi – knownto his regular clients, who include Robert de Niro, Woody Allen, Giorgio Armaniand Rafael Nadal, as Johnny – will be personally overseeing the Mayfairopening, which, he says, will serve fish flown in from Rome on a dailybasis.
Asmuch a feast for the eyes as the stomach, a huge aquarium will take pride ofplace in the London space, from which diners can select their desired dish,while an iced fish display means guests in the 90-seat restaurant can watchchefs preparing dishes such as ceviche. From July, a private dining roomwill be available for parties of up to 30 in the basement.
“Clientshave asked us for years to open in London,” says Johnny, “and we are excited tobecome part of the industry here.”
Thosein the know are already counting the days until they can sample Assunta Madre’ssignature dishes of tuna tartare or shrimp gnocchi without risking life andlimb negotiating the Roman traffic.