I love a restaurant which radiates character, which owns its own style and makes you feel excited the moment you walk up to the doors. For me, Harry’s Dolce Vita is one of those places. There is a buzz exuding from the many large open windows, as those enjoying early evening drinks line the street outside.
The restaurant is perfectly placed behind Harrods in Knightsbridge, where the spiritless Café Rouge used to sit. It is owned by Richard Caring’s Caprice Holdings, owner of J Sheekey, as well as The Ivy and Scott’s. Knowing this, you won’t be surprised to hear that the décor at Harry’s screams elegance and luxury, with mirrored ceilings, russet-hued leather furniture and a long, sexy bar perfect for a tipple or two. Harry’s Dolce Vita is a nod to Harry’s Bar in Mayfair, an exclusive members club, as well as to the iconic Venice original. The tunes in Harry’s Dolce Vita live up to its name too, with plenty of Italian crooning going on, a perfect accompaniment to all the retro-glamorous photography.
This is my kind of place! Before being shown to our table, we chose to have cocktails at the bar, which is the centerpiece of the restaurant. When it comes to choosing cocktails, I prefer that the mixologist make me something of their choice – I enjoy the surprise and a good barman will know exactly what you like. The cocktails we were served were just gorgeous, with the perfect balance of bitter gin and sweet fresh fruit.
After a successful round of cocktails at the bar, we were shown to our table. We were lucky enough to be placed next to one of the large open windows which was perfect for a warm September evening and a spot of people watching. We selected a bottle of the house white as we looked over the menu. For starters, we shared the courgette flower with truffled honey, the mint, pine nut and lemon ricotta salad and the Tuna Crudo. The latter, which was thinly sliced raw yellowfin tuna with peach, white crab, avocado and ginger dressing, was so fresh it transported you straight to summer evenings in Italy.
Convinced I would order pasta for my main, after perusing the menu, I surprised myself by ordering a fish dish. I ordered the lemon sole fillet, served with a Gavi Di Gavi wine sauce with clams, samphire, parsley and Amalfi lemon. The fish was delicious and melted in my mouth, it was light with a subtle fragrance from the samphire. We had to try the famous Harry’s Toadstool to share as our dessert – an aesthetically adventurous dish, crafted from white chocolate, raspberries, mascarpone and an iced vanilla parfait, the Mario Brothers style toadstool is poured over with a warm pistachio sauce. We paired this with an espresso martini, which was the perfect dessert cocktail.
What I love about this restaurant is that it has something theatrical about it – whether it’s the decor, the amazing staff or the food, it’s a place you don’t want to leave. As a little nightcap we ordered a limoncello – nothing says Italy like a shot of limoncello and it allowed us to enjoy Harry’s just a little bit longer.
If you want somewhere special for dinner, for a night and a meal to remember, then Harry’s is the place.