Family Sundays at Bocconcino, 19 Berkeley Street, Mayfair, London W1J 8ED
As we walked through the doors of Mayfair’s Bocconcino Charlotte (10) turned to me and mouthed: ‘It’s posh!’ As we took our coats off we admired the sweeping metal spiral staircase from the mezannine entrance level and the glow of the restaurant below. Eight years ago I wouldn’t have dared take my step-children somewhere like this but they know the drill now, it’s like eating out with a couple of (very young) friends who are arguably more grown up than us at times.
We were here to check out ‘Family Sundays’ where the idea is the kids are taken off to the kitchen to make pizza whilst the adults eat their dinner in peace. Now we’re a little old-fashioned and like to eat together, which was just as well as Charlotte wasn’t gone for long. Oliver is 13 so felt too old to take part even though we could tell he was itching to. Instead he came and watched his sister briefly before heading back to the table for his starter of Burrata with aubergine and basil pesto (£13).
As Ade and I were checking out the cocktail menu the manager came over to suggest drinks for us both. Now I am not a girly girl in the slightest so felt slightly put out having a feminine drink suggested to me. Had it not have been an Aperol Spritz (£10), I would have declined and gone for my original choice of an Espresso Martini (£10). Ade’s Negroni turned up served in a shiny silver tray with the Negroni pre-mixed in an old Schweppes bottle, nice touch.
Charlotte donned a chef’s hat and apron and got started rolling her own dough and spreading tomato sauce under instruction from the chef, finally sprinkling on some toppings. Well, when I say toppings it was just a lot of cheese (before the chef whisked it away) and a handful of mushrooms. She’s the fussy eater amongst us. Then it was into the oven to be served up to her shortly. They’re quite small pizzas, ideal for little kids but bigger kids would probably want something extra. Charlotte ordered a portion of Deep fried calamari with tartare sauce (£13).
Meanwhile Ade and I got stuck into our starters of Pan fried king prawns (£12) – a few juicy prawns on a bed of rocket and Ade shared Oliver’s Burrata with a side helping of Foccacia al rosmarino (£5). We explained to Charlotte that this would be like the ‘cloud bread’ from Pizza Tipi in Wales but it turned out to be more like thin crispy pizza bread. Still tasty, just not what we were expecting.
My main of Wild boar ragu tagliatelle was great, a perfect sized portion with a sweet and tender ragu, one of those I don’t want it to end dishes. Ade opted for pizza – a huge Pizza Gorgonzola e pere (£14) – a huge thin and crispy base cooked wood fired oven, topped with chunks of salty and creamy blue cheese and sweet thinly sliced peeled pair. Oliver is a boy/man of fine taste, so ordered the Scottish rib eye steak (£25) for which we tasted for ‘review purposes’ – a very good steak, tender and cooked perfectly medium rare.
We’d seen other people’s desserts whiz past so we knew we had to save space for these. Oliver said the Meringue cake (£7) was one of the best things he’s ever eaten and reluctantly let us try a slither, watching with anxious eyes to ensure we didn’t take too much. My Creme brûlée (£6) was gorgeous with a super crunchy carmelised top.
We thought we’d be the only ones getting involved in the pizza making, but the place was full of kids in chefs hats and aprons being led up to the designated area in the kitchen, mostly Italian children. It’s a nice little idea but perhaps could do with being a bit longer or more involved and as Charlotte said – bigger pizzas. I don’t know how feasible this is in a busy working kitchen, probably not very.
Perhaps some children’s drawing equipment would have been nice too, that always stops the boredom setting in. We have a no iPhones at the dinner table rule so the pressure’s on us to keep them entertained. It’s amazing how much fun a child can have playing with a chef’s hat, Charlotte became so attached to hers that she even wore it home.
19 Berkeley Street, Mayfair
London W1J 8ED
Telephone: 0207 499 4510
Opening times: 11.30am – 11pm Monday to Saturday
12pm – 10.30pm Sunday (& Bank Holidays)
8.00am – 11.00am Monday to Friday breakfast
Nearest station: Green Park Station (4 mins walk)
We ate as guests of Bocconcino, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.