Toto’s is tucked just off Walton Street in Knightsbridge on Lennox Gardens Mews. Recently renovated during Summer 2014 and under new ownership since then, it’s a stunning restaurant space. On our trips to London we generally walk a lot and around this area is our favourite place to wander. We stumbled upon Toto’s Restaurant on our travels on New Years Day and rang the next morning to book a table for that evening.
We loved the look of Toto’s Restaurant from the outside and it was true love when we arrived for our table… you enter into a bar area, all black and gold, glass, marble, leather, dark wood – but not harsh or hard, it somehow retains a luxe and light element. There’s a courtyard space accessible from this bar level which would be heavenly in warmer weather, a little outdoor oasis in the bustle of London.
We were brought down a small staircase to the restaurant level, again there’s lots of marble and wood, beautiful tiled floors, white tableclothed tables, black leather chairs (very comfortable chairs too!). There’s a large fireplace at the end of the room, which makes a stunning focal point in the room. Located in what used to be a former chapel, the high ceilings enable there to be a mezzanine level in the restaurant too.
We started with a glass of Prosecco (£8) while we made our decision on what to get. It was a difficult choice, so many nice things on this menu. Definitely Italian, Antipasti include Artichoke Salad, Parmigiana di Melanzane, Baccala, Calamari, Vitello tonnato. The Salumi section has Parma ham, salamis, cheeses; Soups, Rissotti and Pasta. For ‘Secondi’ Grilled wild sea bass, Sole, Ossobuco…and there’s a charcoal grill too (steak, seafood) along with a selection of sides. Phew, long menu, hence the problematic choosing!
Before the antipasti, a basked of bread and breadsticks arrived, with a gorgeous olive oil poured into a little saucer for dipping. I started with Parma ham “Pio Tosini” 24 months with buffalo mozzarella (£18) while he chose Toto’s baccala’ two ways (£15). The Parma ham and mozzarella was so simple yet so good, an entire ball of mozarella atop slices of soft Parma ham. His starter was more complex, the baccala (cod) in deep fried little balls and spread on slices of toasted bread. All polished off with lots of appreciative murmuring, both dishes were excellent.
From there we went to Pasta. We both decided we would have a pasta dish as our main course. I went quite simple again with the Ravioli filled with buffalo ricotta served with fresh tomato sauce (£22). I was torn though between that and Spaghetti alla Chitarra cacio e pepe so that will be me next time! His was an easier decision as if there’s a lobster pasta dish on the menu, he’s likely to get it – Tagliolini with lobster, sweet chili and cherry tomatoes (£29).
The ravioli was one of the best pasta dishes I’ve had, in or out of Italy! Yes its an incredibly simple dish, but sometimes they are the hardest to execute this well. Six pieces of raviloi, filled with ricotta, and a divine tomato sauce – it is I suppose, elegant simplicity at its best. His lobster pasta was equally good, huge bowl. The only small criticism is that it was a bit light on the lobster. But taste wise, perfect!
For dessert I wanted something light and refreshing, so went for a selection of homemade sorbetti (£8) and he had the selection of cheeses (£10). Both wonderful… well the sorbet was sorbet really, but the cheese was a lovely complimentary selection served with a toasted nutty bread.
We had another glass of Prosecco with our starters and then selected a bottle of red wine from the extensive wine list, a 2010 Barbera d’Alba DOC, Piani, Pellisero (£40). The wine was decanted (no bottles on the tables here) so it came to temperature and was a perfect accompaniment to the pasta courses. Luckily it also came by the glass so we enjoyed a glass to finish off our meal too.
The staff at Toto’s were brilliant… ever present yet not intrusive at all, even in the early part of the evening when there was only us there. Our total bill including service came to £211.50. There’s no doubt that a visit to Toto’s will not come cheap, but its an understood cost, the quality of the place and of the cooking, the setting, the people… we left feeling happy, and with a strong wish to return next time we are in London. We truly loved Toto’s!
Toto’s Restaurant | Walton House, off Walton Street, London SW3 2JH | Tel: +44 20 7589206
www.totosrestaurant.com | @