Food & Drink

Where To Drink: Sartoria’s Libare Bar

Head here for a masterful negroni – not to mention a quick plate of pasta

Savile Row being one of The Jackal’s spiritual homes, it’s no surprise that its only restaurant, Sartoria, ranks highly on our ‘where to go for dinner’ list. With chef Francesco Mazzei at the helm, Sartoria is known for its elegant menu of Italian comfort food, inspired by Mazzei’s Calabrian heritage.

What’s more, the restaurant has just revamped its Libare Bar, transforming its intimate foyer space into an all-day destination for Mediterranean cocktails, cicchetti and a bar menu that sees a selection of Mazzei’s Italian signatures made available for on-the-go bites. What could be better for when you need to refuel between fittings, or as a quick aperitivo pit stop after an afternoon of shopping in Mayfair?

It being Italian, spritzes, negronis and bellinis figure high up on Sartoria’s bar menu. Although their tempting offering of bespoke cocktails, like the ‘Mayfair Fizz’, with vodka, Disaronno, elderflower cordial, passion fruit and Moet & Chandon, and and the ‘Blood Orange Spritzer’, with Martini Rubino, Italicus, bergamot oil, champagne and blood orange, seem designed to conjure up balmy Italian evenings, for me the first stop had to be the five-strong negroni menu.

From the ‘Classico’ to the ‘Negroni Delicato’, with added rosé vermouth, these are things of beauty: expertly executed, and delivered with a flair and confidence that speaks of decades of experience with mixing vermouth and Campari. You can even upgrade your aperitivo, and go for the ‘Vintage Negroni’, with Gordon’s gin 1980s, Campari 1980s and Carpano Punt e Mes 1980s, for a real flavour of old-school Italy. If cocktails aren’t your thing, then there’s bound to be something for you in Master Sommelier Michael Simms’s 250-bin wine cellar. And the 10-strong vermouth menu gives aperitivo-lovers a strong choice of before-dinner tipples.

And, if aperitivo is what you’re after, then the heaving platters of salumi and Italian cheese, cuttlefish arancini and aubergine croquettes are specially designed to pair with extensive cocktail list. In particular, the burrata with peas and broad beans is a moreish addition to these lighter bites; the creamy burrata was lifted just so with the crisp freshness of the greens.

If you’re looking for something more substantial – a quick lunch between meetings, or a spontaneous evening with friends on the Libare Bar’s heated terrace – then the bar also offers a choice of dishes from Sartoria’s main kitchen. The spaghetti carbonara, a highlight from the restaurant’s menu, was indulgently rich, with bright orange egg yolk and lashings of shaved parmesan. The grilled fish, on the other hand, was light and seared to perfection – ideal with the crisp green salad. Mazzei’s fried zucchini (a dish served in several of his restaurants) was served in an overflowing pot, a tangle of deep-fried deliciousness. These are truly tempting – and worth ordering on their own with a negroni, if you’re short on time.

So next time you’ve got an appointment on the Row, or shopping on Regent’s Street, make a beeline for Sartoria’s Libare Bar for your afternoon-pick-me-up. With all the style of the main restaurant, plus an added dose of Italian loucheness, it’s the place to head to when aperitivo hour beckons.