'The food is plentiful, but the portions are well-sized and the whole menu is fresh and summery'


Open Tue–Sat midday–2pm for lunch, and 7pm–10pm

Tucked away on a tree-lined street, a stone’s throw away from the bustling Sloane Square, 11 Cadogan Gardens is notable only for the Union Jack which flies over its entrance. Just one in a row of beautiful Victorian houses, the building is home to a luxury hotel – a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World brand – and the recently opened Tartufo restaurant.

Although not small in any real sense of the word, the location is certainly intimate. I ascended the stairs to find myself in the reception area – with a library to the right and a bar to the left. While waiting for my friend, I was invited into the drawing room, where afternoon tea takes place. Bedecked with knee-high coffee tables and plush, white chairs, it has a touch of threadbare elegance; grand but not stuffy.

We were then taken down to the restaurant, which is spread over two connected main rooms, maintaining the impression that we had been invited into a private residence, rather than a public hotel. The decor is bright and simple: pristine linen tablecloths and pink lillies; off-white armchairs; a ceiling composed of tarnished mirror panels. The main feature in the room we were seated in is a large, disused fireplace hosting a tall urn.

Guests were sat at three of the other five tables but it did not feel cramped and the staff was attentive from beginning to end. We ate from the new lunch menu: a three course meal, half a bottle of wine, coffee and petit fours, all of which is priced at £35 per person. Opting for rose wine, we enjoyed a goat’s cheese and tomato tartlet appetiser while we made our choices from the menu.

I chose the summer heritage tomatoes, chilled watermelon and red pepper soup, which was perfectly accompanied by the basket of both olive foccacia and sourdough bread that was delivered to our table. Although the rain had made it feel less like summer on this particular afternoon, the soup was tangy and refreshing. My friend had the warm peach and grilled scallops, served with radicchio leaves and wild rocket crustacean dressing, which she enjoyed despite questioning her taste for seafood.

The large swiss chard and summer truffle ravioli, accompanied by aged parmesan veloute, red chard leaves and truffle dressing was the obvious choice for our main course – Tartufo also offers a Summer Truffle tasting menu (six courses priced at £65 per person). Despite being a pasta dish, the course was light, with a generous helping of shaved truffles.

On the waiter’s recommendation, I finished off with fresh raspberries served with sweet mascarpone and strawberry jus, which came in a tall glass topped with a crunchy, caramelised wafer. Not usually one for fruit-based desserts, I found it creamy and delicious. My friend chose the seaonal home made sorbet: peach and raspberry flavours on a biscuit crumb base.

We skipped the coffee as the wine was still flowing, but the combination of melt-in-the-mouth pistachio shortbread and sticky amaretti petit fours was impossible to resist.

Upon leaving we both agreed that we felt well-fed rather than stuffed. The food is plentiful, but the portions are well-sized and the whole menu is fresh and summery. Perhaps too boozy an affair for your office lunch break – half a bottle of wine was more than enough to leave me feeling light-headed – this is the ideal treat if you’re shopping on the King’s Road or enjoying a leisurely day around west London.

Tartufo, 11 Cadogan Gardens, Chelsea, London, SW3; www.tartufolondon.co.uk; 020 7730 6383

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