After an exciting few days of shooting along the rustic streets and dreamy canals of Venice, a visit to recently opened Italian restaurant Maia was the perfect cure for the post-holiday blues.
Aptly located in London’s smartest postcodes, Knightsbridge, the interior décor is chic and minimalist, furnished with comfortable chairs and soft banquettes in sumptuous dark leather. On one side of the room, the wall is lined with oversized prints of sixties models, including an animated screen, a nod to David Bailey’s iconic work, the ‘Box of Pin-ups’. The floor to ceiling windows at the front offer guests views of Hans Crescent, ideal for people-watching, as well as giving passersby an inviting glimpse inside.
Gathering around their sleek marble-topped bar, our evening kicked off with some aperitivo, where we were treated to a selection of tantalizing cocktails, specially designed by award-winning and avant-garde drinks specialist, Richard Woods, taking guests on a delicious journey around Italy’s classic cocktails whilst giving them his very own inimitable twist. Initially tempted to order an Aperol Spritz to help relive memories of the much-missed Italian sunshine, I decided to go for something different and ordered an equally refreshing St-Germain Spritz, as I do love elderflower. I also tried the margarita, recommended by our charming bartender, Matteo, who substituted the tequila with mezcal which gave it a touch of smokiness. We enjoyed these alongside olives and platters of beef carpaccio, parmesan shavings, and rocket drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Whilst many other Italian eateries have a more extensive menu, Maia focuses more on quality rather than quantity, featuring Italian classics that rotate with the seasons, given a light touch by Head Chef Mauro Di Leo. We were served a variety of starters to share including some crispy calamari, bresaola with courgette carpaccio, and servings of creamy burrata and sweet datterino tomatoes, which went well with the selection of Italian breads. The green pesto and peppery notes of extra-virgin olive oil certainly enhanced the flavours. We also got to try the Avo-crab smash on gluten-free brown bread, one of the healthy and delicious dishes created in collaboration with wellness advocate in-residence, Francesca Giacomini of Francesca The Method.
Torn between the pasta dishes and seabass, I eventually decided on the latter – a perfectly grilled seabass filet served Mediterranean-style with cherry tomatoes, olives and basil. However, making sure that we got the full Maia experience, they also kindly prepared a couple of pasta dishes for us to sample – I was definitely a fan of the golden Carnaroli saffron risotto that was deliciously creamy, garnished with a few of the spice’s aromatic threads. Several sides accompanied our meal, and I was particularly fond of the sweet potato fries.
Ending our meal on a sweet note, we tucked into a selection of desserts including a strawberry tart, lemon tart, and my favourite amongst them, the classic tiramisu. To top off the whole experience, we we also gifted a personalized dessert each to take home which was really sweet of them!
Maia is open throughout the day to cater to your needs, from breakfast, brunch, lunch, and after work drinks all the way to dinner time – I’ve also spotted that they also offer afternoon tea which I will be sure to add to my list!
- My visit to Maia Knightsbridge was complimentary – views and photos are my own.