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There has been an Italian restaurant on this
Curzon Street since the 1930s. Tempo is its latest reincarnation and it
a good chance of staying just there for another 70 years. Even this
its predicted long history, it ticks all the boxes, at least for me and
crowd enjoying a Monday lunch on adjoining tables.
Yes, an ordinary Monday lunchtime and
restaurant was buzzing. Two large parties as well as various couples
who were even this short time since the restaurant opening, have
become regulars. Tempo looks like a very chic European restaurant but
like an Italian restaurant. Formal décor is tempered by the
exuberance of the
guests who enjoy not only the taste but the spirit of Italian cuisine.
has a well-heeled clientele as one would expect but they are a bunch
stand on ceremony. They visit to enjoy the best of food and good
It’s about sharing the food and the
Nothing stuffy about Tempo. It’s a confident establishment that seems
perfectly reflect the conviviality of its owner Henry Togna. A suave
balances front of house efficiency with great personal charm. A
cultured entrepreneur who has the blood of the hospitality industry
through his veins. His grandparents owned hotels as did his father. He
indeed the former owner of the iconic townhouse hotel 22 Jermyn Street
had been in his family since 1915.
Tempo might be bijou but it’s a gem
of a sophisticated
space. Taupe walls are contrasted by turquoise - upholstered chairs.
Glass-topped marble-effect tables are buffed to a reflective shine by
ever-vigilant staff. It’s the attention to detail that will always
Tempo from the herd. That effort to get things just right extends to
kitchen which is the domain of Chef Yoshi Yamada. No, dear reader, that
very Italian name but he is indeed an award winning Italian chef. He
the Italian Culinary Master Chef Award from the prestigious Academia
This new award has been created to recognise the skilled chefs living
who have succeeded in creating exceptional and authentic Italian
Chef Yamada spent four years cooking
restaurants in Sorrento (the two-Michelin-starred Don Alfonso),
Florence. He continued with Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea and
de Joël Robuchon in Tokyo before being selected to run the
kitchens at Tempo.
This isn’t a fusion restaurant but the presentation shows a delicacy
be attributed to Yoshis Japanese ancestry. The
menu reflects regard for seasonality, freshness and
changes frequently although there are those dishes that must remain due
popular and vociferous demand.
We crunched crostini perfumed with
fennel seeds as
we perused the menu. My guest chose one of the already celebrated
dishes, Scottish beef shaved into wafer thin slices of bright red hue
punctuated with hazelnuts for crunch. Parmesan shavings gave an
tang. A dish that relies on both freshness and quality of the
Grilled sardines were my choice and
constituted a considerable plateful. 4 perfectly grilled and marked
a drizzle of gremolata sauce were juicy and substantial. A simple dish
seldom done perfectly... but Tempo presented the best cooked seafood I
in a while.
My companion was tempted by the
Polletto - grilled pausing
on mixed salad leaves with a garnish of barley. A finger bowl arrived
order giving the cue that tucking in and chewing the bones would be
The chicken as pronounced too good to waste any so that fingerbowl was
Tempo is undoubtedly an Italian
restaurant so pasta
in some guise or other was always on the cards for this diner. Find
squid ink Linguine
dresses with Cornish crab, chilli, lime proved to be both a visual and
gastronomic triumph. Black pasta always has impact but flecks of red
to the drama. This isn’t an overly spicy dish but that chilli does give a
aromatic edge to the sweetness of the crab.
Save space for dessert. Henry
recommended the Lemon
tart which has already become a signature dish. The citrus filling was
and tangy. A well balanced slice of sharp and tangy lemon on a
sweet pastry base and bruleed crust.
Tempo is a restaurant to visit often
and in which
to linger. Its menu is varied and good value for money. It will garner
loyal followers over the years and I’ll add myself to the list. I’ll
shortly to visit the bar which I am sure will become a cosy destination
cocktail or glass of proseco.
Monday to Friday - Lunch – noon to
3pm / Dinner –
6pm to 11pm
Saturday - Dinner - 6pm to 11pm
Drinks and all-day light food in the
bar from 11am
London restaurant review: Tempo
Italian restaurant - Mayfair
54 Curzon Street, London W1J 8PG
Phone: 020 7629 2742
Visit Tempo here