What: Cecconi’s Pizza Bar launched in Soho last month, on the former site of Soho Kitchen & Bar on Old Compton Street.
Who: The Cecconi’s brand is owned by the Soho House Group, which acquired it in 2005. Normally an upmarket and classic Italian, the opening of the Pizza Bar represents a foray into the more casual end of the dining market for Cecconi’s. The original iteration of the restaurant, founded by Enzo Cecconi, opened in Mayfair in 1978, and it now operates a site at The Ned as well as outposts in Berlin, Barcelona, Istanbul, Hollywood, Miami Beach and New York.
The vibe: Despite calling itself a ‘pizza bar’, and representing the lower end of the Cecconi’s spectrum of glamour, the new restaurant is no high street chain affair. Its signature striped marble floor and low level lighting tie in its aesthetic with that of its upmarket sister sites. Interiors feature a rosewood panelled bar and walls and brass fittings, reminiscent of iconic Harry’s Bar in Venice where Enzo Cecconi held the role of youngest-ever general manager. Service is typical slick Soho House Group style, and the rotating roster of DJs playing each night gives the room a slightly more lively atmosphere than its sister restaurants proper.
The food: Naturally, being a pizza bar, the restaurant’s menu is heavily focused on the pizzas and pizzettes cooked in its wood-fired oven. Toppings are relatively simple (spicy salami with mushroom, pecorino and tomato; Parma ham with rocket, tomato and mozzarella; a classic margherita) although there is a more premium choice featuring zucchini blossom and black truffle. Snacks include zucchini fritti with aioli; meatballs with tomato sauce; and burrata with tomatoes and olives. There are a few pasta dishes, such as carbonara; and one of crab with parsley, chilli, olive oil and fresh tomato. A short list of classic desserts rounds off the menu.
The drinks: A mid-century Venetian style bar serves Italian classic cocktails including Negronis; Aperol spritzes; and Chinottos. A list of Italian wines is also available.
And another thing: The site on which Cecconi’s Pizza Bar has opened formerly housed another Soho House-owned venue, so although the venture is new, the property has not actually changed hands. It will be the second recent full relaunch of a Soho House Group property, which also reopened iconic 150-year old Kettner’s Townhouse in January, having acquired it in 2016.