Olive oil in our salads, olive oil in our frying pans, olive oil rubbed into our skin like ancient Romans. Still, I have a little trouble accepting olive oil in my cocktails. I have never put a martini glass back on its coaster and thought, “if only that drink had a little more olive oil in it”.
At Cartizze, however, an Olive Oil Gin Fizz it is the house cocktail, so it would have been rude not to give it a go. The result, served short with a twist of lemon, was subtle and smooth with a refreshing citrus airiness and bore no discernible trace of the olive.
Cartizze brings a bit of East End spark to upmarket Mayfair, says a lightly oiled Ed Cumming.
Tucked away behind Bond Street, this new bar is trying to bring a little East London variety to upmarket Mayfair. It draws heavily on Italy, from the Venetian glass behind the bar to the food menu. The decorations are dark and moody, with oak panelling surrounding a marble fireplace; it felt like a wintry room on a light spring evening. Dedicated drinkers can even rent a locker for their favourite bottle, alllowing them to drink on the premises after hours.
The cocktails, designed by bartender Richard Woods, previously of Duck & Waffle, were uniformly superb. As one followed the other my notes became more blurred and eventually non-existent. About the rhubarb bellini I have the word “yummy” underlined three times. Next to a blood orange vodka, concoction, simply an exclamation mark and a smiley face.
The only false note was the food, which took the Italian theme too far and was over-truffled. Scallops wrapped in ham and served in little burger buns was a cute idea, but robbed the shellfish of its flavour.
If you’re hunting the classics, or are serious about food, you should head elsewhere. But if you want to be pleasantly surprised, slap bang in the middle of the West End, this is an excellent addition.
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