Alto, London W1: ‘An almost ridiculously chic Sicilian’ – restaurant review | Grace Dent on re …

alto london w1 an almost ridiculously chic sicilian restaurant review grace dent on restaurants

En route to Alto by San Carlo, on the rooftop of Selfridges in London, I thought about how for a long time eating in a department store was never anyone’s idea of “destination dining”. That’s the fancy term, by the way, for a dining experience that you covet from afar, then map a journey towards, before packing a weekend suitcase to be within thrilling proximity of a big-name chef. No one ever felt like this about the all-day breakfasts at BHS Bournemouth. Or, for that matter, a scone with jam in an M&S cafe, which is generally a self-consoling act after another doomed search for a reliable strapless balconette bra. I’ve long argued that the goths and indie kids of Carlisle bankrupted the House of Fraser cafe by loitering all day discussing Bauhaus B-sides, sharing one 57p whipped cream-topped hot chocolate, before inevitably stealing the mug.

However, judging by the lengthy queue of customers standing in Oxford Street waiting to board the special lift to Alto, the mood towards in-store dining has shifted. I noticed this again on a recent trip to Native, which has taken root in the courtyard at the new Browns store on Brook Street. Pop in for Balenciaga sneakers and a Cire Trudon room spray, stay for six courses of fresh and foraged small plates…

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