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Saturday, 19 April 2014

Cartizze, Mayfair

Tucked away behind New Bond Street, Lancashire Court's busy bars and restaurants feed and water Bond Street's spendy Fendi folk. Part of a pedestrianised cobbled ramble, the picturesque enclave's main alleyway is flanked by cafe tables that are always taken. The vibe is Continental: a buzzy backstreet on the Ligurian Riviera, perhaps. The clientele at Mews of Mayfair and at its new sister bar, Cartizze, opposite, look like they'd be equally at home in Portofino, sipping Cartizze's Bellinis - rhubarb, blood orange, and sgroppino (made with limoncello sorbet and lemon verbena liqueur). Two intimate Italianate salons, expensively got up in inky tones and jet marble with flashes of bling, are served by a smart Art Deco-style bar. Crystal glasses; Cristal chilling expectantly in a Champagne-laden fridge: such details speak volumes about the venue's target clientele. Speaking at at such a volume, I can't but hear, my barfly neighbours are a 50-something pair that look like they might run a BMW franchise in High Barnet - her barnet, all expensive blonde low-lights tumbling on to her still-perky La Perla bosom; he, all cashmere socks, Colgate confidence, and smarmy Swiss Tony forecourt charm. They are much looking forward to yacht parties at the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix. Well, who isn't? It's been simply ages since I went eyeball-to-highball with the Ecclestone sisters. Ah, Monaco! I've had more fun in Frinton, frankly, than in that sterile playground of the rich -  more Crass-than-class-sur-mer. But then, I'm not the sort of acquisitive type that aspires to a Bugatti Veyron, Bulgari pink gold watches and a neo-Georgian mansion on the Bishop's Avenue; the sort of trappings that would make me instantly desirable to a brace of  Prada-plumed birds perched at a high table behind me, I suspect. I try barrel-aged negroni. Good enough, but difficult to drink when a narrow-rimmed tumbler is filled to the top with ice cubes that keep smacking you in the kisser. Sicilian gimlet and Milano Torino (a Talented Mr. Ripley rinse that combines Campari, Martini Rosso and soda) appeal, and fine fizz Cartizze (£45 a bottle) - the bar is named after the ne plus ultra of Prosecco vineyards - works with San Daniele-wrapped figs or Orkney scallops with pancetta in brioche from a selection of snacks. A Chivas Regal sour (£12) is flavoured with liquorice and certain bartenders' currently trendy friend, truffle oil. I'm less certain. It looks pretty but smacks of, well, truffle oil. All polished threads and bella figura, Cartizze isn't aimed at me. I imagine its  pseudo-sophisticated dolce vita pose will appeal to another oily Italian, Nancy Dell'Olio...or her younger sister.
4 Lancashire Court, W1S 1EY  @cartizzebar