Harry’s Dolce Vita is the new hotspot in which to be seen dining among an A-list clientele, situated right next to Harrods in luxury shopping district Knightsbridge.
A spin off from Harry’s Bar (a private members’ club in Mayfair), Harry’s lives up to the name of Dolce Vita, offering an ambience of 50’s and 60’s Italian glamour, enjoying a mealtime of heedless pleasure and luxury. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offering a huge list of Italian wines and curated cocktails.
You’ll walk in through thick curtains to find well-dressed men and Audrey Hepbun-esque women perched at the bar, gossiping quietly among themselves, enjoying a bottle of Amarone wine, sipped from delicate stemmed glasses. (Word has it that a glass of wine was the only tipple that Ms. Hepburn allowed herself.)
Everywhere I looked, opulence glimmered at me, from the lustrous warm upholstery on the bar stools to the 50s lighting, colourful Murano glass, floors with a nod to Venice’s striped gondola mooring posts, wood and gold trims and stunning black and white framed photographs on the walls, including Hepburn and Gregory Peck in a scene from the 1953 flick ‘Roman Holiday’. The terrace will also be a welcome addition to London summers. Subtle traces hint back to the original Harry’s Bar in Venice from the blue accents of the glassware to those same playful salt & pepper shakers on the table. While the private members’ club in London is entirely exclusive, the restaurant is accessible from its open booking to price to location.
Harry’s Dolce Vita is headed by Giancarlo Princigalli, the general manager, who ensures the restaurant is inviting and warm, but with an air of sophistication and authentic Italian vibes. Albeit cosy, you won’t mind hearing the next door table’s conversation.
One might be forgiven for thinking they have taken a step back in time. To the left sat a large family gathering enjoying a birthday meal, while to the back of the restaurant sat a group of women spooning up a signature chocolate sundae of the restaurant. A chic young couple with only eyes for each other sat to the right. Each of the diners had a unique story, enjoying their Thursday night dinner.
The menu at Harry’s Dolce Vita is full of choice based on Italian classics, thanks to executive chef Diego Cardoso, formerly of The Connaught and head chef at Angela Hartnett’s Murano. If there for lunch or dinner, I recommend the Harry’s Tagliolini. Gratinated lengths of thicker spaghetti made fresh on the premises, with parmesan cheese, truffle, and cream. For a lighter option, the Carpaccio di Manzo is recommended, raw beef that is sliced with Cipriani mustard, parmesan cheese, and rocket dressing.
Make sure you leave room for Dolci at Dolce. An Amalfi sundae of lemon sorbet, candied lemon against a wedge of lemon. Or ‘Harry’s toadstool’, a super-sweet false funghi made of white chocolate, raspberries, mascarpone and iced vanilla parfait surrounded by a bitter green pistachio sauce.
Following the tradition of the original Harry’s Bar, there is an elegant grappa trolley circling the room to offer diners an aperitif or digestif.
The service at Harry’s Dolce Vita was as expected – impeccable. This was nothing short of the reflection of the brand of Caprice Holdings. Not surprisingly in such opulent and welcoming surroundings, our party was one of the last to leave, but only after swapping our dining chairs for bar stools and enjoying one last nightcap.
It was after all, pure Amore.