A review of Sette, Sydney Street, SW3
An invitation to lunch with Pete Burrell is not one to miss. This Chelsea restaurateur is one of the best-connected men in town and along with Marilyn Fry, who has just become chairman of The Lady Taverners, I readily headed to Sydney Street’s newest restaurant, Sette Cucina Italiana.
Burrell has recruited Umberto Scomparin from Ilia as maître d’ and on arrival we were immediately met by this most jolly of fellows. Scomparin has a knowledge of food and drink second to none and the lunch was perpetuated with his inputs of wit, wisdom and liveliness. The resulting atmosphere is part of what sets this bright and stylish restaurant apart from other local Italians.
Co-owned by Burrell and Frankie Dettori MBE, Sette takes its name from the Italian for “seven” in reference to the day when the champion jockey won all seven races at Ascot. Wall Street, Diffident, Mark of Esteem, Decorated Hero, Fatefully, Lochangel and Fujiyama Crest as well as Dettori himself all went down in the history of racing for this mighty achievement and it will forever be remembered by bookies for the vast sums they had to pay out.
Dettori, on a rare day off from racing, joined us and we commenced with a selection of starters. Amongst them were veal in a tuna sauce (£9.50) that was just perfect and burrata with vegegtables and “cuore di bue (£10.50) that was one of the best I’d tried in an age. Grilled squid with sweet chilli and salad (£11) proved equally impressive with the party.
Accompanying conversation about the exploits of Michael Winner at a recent Lady Taveners lunch and tales of Dettori’s racing career, we enjoyed a Pinot Grigio Branko (£40) that was full-bodied and somewhat floral. As Scomparin was about to embark on serving the second bottle, an unexpected friend of Mr Burrell’s arrived: Terry Venables.
It was a great pleasure to expand the table to include Mr Venables and his compatriot and we all decided to share a grilled seabass (£25), calves liver with butter and sage (£18) and a linguine with lobster (£14). We all noted the fine quality of the ingredients and the generosity of the portions.
Not being an expert on football, it was a revelation to learn about how this former England manager has also had a career as a media pundit for Al Jazeera and was the co-author of ITV’s 1978 – 1979 Hazell detective drama series along with Gordon Williams. A good time was had by all.
Later, as Sette buzzed with customers aplenty, one guest managed to spill some red wine on another. In true Scomparin style, this host par excellence dashed round the corner to Ralph Lauren and collected a new white shirt. Hospitality is in the blood of all involved at Sette and nothing is too much trouble.
Darren Yates of Morecambe, Lancashire placed £67.58 in combining all seven of Dettori’s mounts in 1996. This impoverished plumber won £550,000 that afternoon and equally Dettori and Burrell’s Magnificent Seven looks set to deservedly prosper in Sydney Street.
For more information on The Lady Taverners, go to: http://www.lordstaverners.org