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Cantinetta Antinori: historic Florentine winemaker announces date of London restaurant launch

Wine and dine: Cantinetta Antinori will serve Italian food alongside wine from its Tuscan estates   (Adrien Daste)
Wine and dine: Cantinetta Antinori will serve Italian food alongside wine from its Tuscan estates (Adrien Daste)

The Italian company that makes Meghan Markle’s favourite wine is opening its first London restaurant at the end of April. Cantinetta Antinori will launch on April 24 on Harriet Street in Belgravia, a stone’s throw from the sort of luxury boutiques on Knightsbridge and Sloane Street that are the brand’s neighbours in its native Florence.

Marchesi Antinori is run by sisters Albiera, Allegra and Alessia Antinori, whose family began making wine in 1385 when Giovanni de Piero Antinori was admitted to the Florentine Winemakers’ Guild. Foremost among the current portfolio is Tignanello, made from the red grapes of sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc in a style of Chianti wine known as Super Tuscan. The Duchess of Sussex named her The Tig blog in honour of Tiganello because it sparked a lightbulb moment in wine appreciation when she tried it. “The Tig is my nickname for me getting it,” she said. “Not just wine, but everything.”

The original  Cantinetta Antinori in Florence (Cantinetta Antinori)
The original Cantinetta Antinori in Florence (Cantinetta Antinori)

The first Cantinetta Antinori was opened by the sisters’ grandfather Niccolò Antinori in 1957 in the family’s 15th-century Florentine home, the Palazzo Antinori. The new London restaurant promises to be almost as luxurious as a Renaissance palace, occupying 3,700 sq ft of a converted period building in the heart of London’s five-star hotel land, with space for 48 diners and a further 25 in the bar. Details such as the brass vine leaves on the wooden bar counter and the wood-panelled walls of the dining room are inspired by the Florence original and there will be a terrace for summertime drinking.

The new restaurant is a partnership between the Antinori family and Riccardo Giraudi, the Monaco-based restaurateur who is also behind Le Petit Beefbar in Chelsea. Needless to say that with a pedigree like that, the kitchen will not be sending out homespun Italian.

Prosciutto is reimagined with Wagyu beef while tiramisu and cacio e pepe will be served with theatrical flair tableside. Ingredients sound top-notch: crispy octopus with potato cream, farro salad with squid and olive oil from the Antinori’s Pèppoli estate in Chianti. Cured meat and cheese will be served in the bar as well as coffee and cocktails — and, of course, Antinori wines.

“We always had the desire to open our Cantinetta Antinori in London, a city that represents one of the most important stages in Europe for our wines and a place where we can meet many Antinori wine lovers,” Allegra Antinori told the Standard. “Cantinetta Antinori is the best way to introduce our wines, accompanied by a truly Tuscan cuisine. It’s like being at our home.”

The London Cantinetta Antinori joins outposts in Monaco, Moscow, Vienna and Zurich, which should give a clue as to the size of bill one might expect.

4 Harriet Street, SW1X 9JR, cantinetta-antinori.uk

@mrbenmccormack