Went on Saturday night at 8pm for son's birthday. We 4 were the only diners - and the staff were mostly new, our first choice wine selection out of stock and the sous chef out of action thorough a kitchen accident. Not an encouraging start! By the end of the evening, however, the place was brim-full and the staff, gamely struggling through adversity, had covered themselves in glory.
But most impressive was the food : I had the 3-course £29 Parmigiano Reggiano set menu: orzotto (pearl barley "risotto"); carpaccio of beef with parmesan and truffle; the "Zinna di Maria Antonietta” (from the main menu, since my selection from the set menu was unavailable). All absolutely full-flavoured and delicious.
The service was elegant, charming and attentive - although it would have helped if I could speak just a little Italian !
We were all delighted with the cooking, the service and the ambience.
I love the sensuality of Tentazioni's food - rich and shameless - it makes a great contrast to the precision and zest of Zucca. With both of these sensational Italian restaurants just a stroll away from me in SE1, I count myself " un uomo fortunato" indeed.
The food at their "Opera Night" (a couple of these a year) was top-notch, with the waiters and waitresses zipping around the strolling soprano adding a nicely surreal atmosphere.
We all ordered different starters and main courses and shared a fine tiramisu between 4 to finish. My risotto (Franciacorta Wine and Caviar Risotto Served with Pan Fried King Scallops) was highly flavoured, but delicate and delicious. The pork and mushroom (Pork Fillet with Parma Ham, Parmesan Cheese and Mixed Wild Mushrooms and Marsala Sauce) was tender and the flavours well-balanced.
Don't get me wrong - this is not cutting-edge cuisine, just superbly executed and smartly served Italian food - with a Spanish soprano thrown in for free.
Our friends were amazed that Tentazioni was not full at 8pm (it was by 9pm!) and vowed to make the trip from deepest Essex to come again soon.
Bravo, Tentazioni !
The texture and flavours of my starter of pearl barley, wild mushroom and rich cheese sauce was superb and my wife's main fish course was quite delicious. Also enjoyed a basic steak thereafter, with truffle shavings offered as a freebie option.
The cooking just seems to hit the right note and the service is elegant and thoughtful.
I left saying that we must return more frequently (only our second visit, the first was just as good).
Only thing was that we were the only souls there on a Monday night, until after 9.00pm, when another couple arrived. So the "romantic" atmosphere which the space undoubtedly has when full was somewhat diminished. But I think that it is even harder for a kitchen to cook seriously good food with very few customers - so my praise for the cooking is fulsome indeed.
I would urge any SE1/SE16 ers to give this excellent restaurant a try(especially those who found the ghastly Guiseppe's Borough High Street Italian experience as unbearable as I did - see earlier reviews on this site).
I rate Tentazioni as one of the best in the area - and a rare treat. Go, go go !
The staff were helpful and attentive without being intrusive and the atmosphere was comfortably relaxed. The only surprise was that it wasn't busier on a Saturday night. This one is definitely going on the regular list!
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