Last time I was in this restaurant was over ten years ago. Called something else and owned by someone else, I remember thinking it was like being in someone’s home, albeit one they had turned into a dining room. Like a posh, pretentious Come Dine with Me. All style no substance. The service was eager as in they wouldn’t leave us alone. Attentive is good, persistent is annoying. I couldn’t read the menu as the lights were so dimmed I nearly burnt the menu putting it so close to the solitary candle and I left hungry because the food was good enough to look at and not enough to satisfy.
This time, same layout but completely different experience, something Peter Burrell and Frankie Dettori MBE, the owners have done well to create. Décor is minimalistic; ambience is warm. Manager Umberto Scomparin has the manner of a knowing uncle (admittedly I suppose this is dependent on your age and sex) – but his manner is informed, helpful, warm, patient, like the proverbial baby porridge – ‘just right’. He tells you where every ingredient originated, what is in season, making helpful suggestions not intrusive ones, or not - if he senses you just want to eat and gaze at your partner (something they didn’t get ten years ago). Empathy and probable telepathy is important in restaurant staff.
The food is beautifully presented but not so much you feel you’re eating a work of art. You can tell Chef Stefano Stecca loves what he does. I started with salmon tartare, then sea bass, keeping it light, but there are more ample options – if you order ravioli as a starter, come hungry. There are extremely reasonably priced set menus for Sunday lunch, especially considering where you are (Chelsea). It somehow manages to cut across the bridge of being both smart and authentically child friendly – I’m taking my 13 year old there next week. I haven’t been there in the evening, but at lunch time even on dull days, natural light beams in so you can see what you’re eating (many restaurants especially Italian ones go for the cosy, semi dark approach which is fine for romance, lousy for seeing the food – or menu for that matter). And I had a menu I could read! I know that sounds strange but as I get older the menu type face seems to get smaller – or seems to get smaller. I didn’t even need the glasses. Sette has empathy indeed.
There is no excuse to leave the restaurant feeling hungry or over fed– this place is the epitome of sublime ample sufficiency - it sets the right tone on every level in every way.
Sette is a cut above the rest.
www.sette-restaurant.com/The childrens menu is at £10 for two courses on Sundays and is Chicken Milanese, Tomato Spaghetti and Lasagne followed by ice cream or