Osteria means an Italian restaurant, typically a simple or inexpensive one. However, at Osteria 60 it is neither simple nor inexpensive. Situated inside the 5 star Baglioni hotel, the restaurant has that classic, Italian 1950s elegant feel composed mainly of yellow, black and gold hues. The design is smart enough as befitting a top boutique hotel restaurant, yet casual enough to fit their multifaceted requirements: this is the same space for hotel guests to enjoy their breakfast. What worked less well were their selection of post-modernism paintings hung in certain areas which jarred with the refined decor of the space.
Dishes like Calamari and lasagne might be typical offerings in an osteria in Italy; however the versions at Osteria 60 have been carefully crafted with inventiveness by their head chef, Ivan Simeoli. The calamari here isn’t fried but freshly sliced like pasta and served with refreshing tomato pappa and mozzarella. The wild sea bass carpaccio with sea urchins and blood orange is as innovative an exploration of taste and textures as you will find in any top London restaurant. Fresh sea bass might not have as much taste as say salmon but the citrus taste from the orange and the rich saltiness of the sea urchins combines to make a heavenly starter dish.
The lasagne dish might be as classic as the head chef’s grandmother’s recipe, but it is delightfully presented with mini-meatballs, a quail egg, fresh beans. It is a filling dish without being overly heavy on the stomach like typical lasagne dishes.
The maltagliati with potatoes and chilli lobster uses raw-tasting premium lobsters but curiously matched with potatoes and maltagliati, which is typically referred to as “pasta for the poor”, as it uses the excess dough from making other pastas and cut into irregular shapes and thickness. The dish is definitely well constructed, although I wonder how many diners would personally opt for potatoes and maltagliati to match with their lobster rather than something more extravagant.
In keeping with their philosophy of presenting each dish as a piece of artwork, their tiramisu is a cleverly deconstructed version where you make the final dessert yourself. Whilst their strawberry and yoghurt dessert, wouldn’t look out-of-place as a sculpture at Tate Modern.
Prices might be slightly high at Osteria 60, but if you like playful, inventive dishes, it is definitely a price worth paying.