A Taste of Tuscany at COMO Metropolitan London

Having recently transported the tastes from the rolling hills of Tuscany to the urban setting of Park Lane London, we caught up with COMO London hotel’s General Manager, Javier Beneyto Benavides to find out a little more about the pop-up concept…

COMO London pop-up with chef giovanni from COMO Castello Del Nero Tuscany

COMO Metropolitan London, with the winning combination of contemporary design and a vibrant Park Lane location was the perfect setting for a collaboration with the award winning team at COMO’s first Italian retreat, COMO Castello Del Nero. For a limited eight nights only, Executive Chef Giovanni Luca Di Pirro from the historic Tuscan estate, created an exclusive menu highlighting signature dishes from the restaurant, La Taverna. London diners were able to experience Chef Giovanni’s masterful techniques that pay homage to the culinary roots of Tuscany, without having to leave the comfort of the capital.

Hotel Designs: Tell us more about the menu takeover?

Javier Beneyto Benavides: We were very lucky to have Giovanni Luca Di Pirro, Executive Chef at our sister property, COMO Castello Del Nero, join us at COMO Metropolitan London to share the incredible flavours of Tuscany with our guests here in the city. The pop-up menu featured many Italian favourites, including ‘Tagliere del Castello’, a selection of Tuscan cold cuts, fine cheeses, honey and coccoli, homemade Pici (a hand-rolled and thicker version of spaghetti) with beef ragù, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and Pecorino cheese, Carnaroli risotto with pumpkin and truffle, and a selection of mouth-watering pizzas all crafted with the freshest seasonal ingredients which stay true to COMO’s farm-to-table philosophy. Dishes were accompanied by a hand-picked selection of Tuscan wines such as Tignanello Antinori, Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino or Italian cocktails like Aperol Spritz, Rossini, and Garibaldi for what was a truly immersive and complete experience.

We also hosted a pair of hands-on cooking classes, so that guests could experience and learn to master the art of making pasta with Chef Giovanni himself. Guests were able to savour a selection of Tuscan antipasti and a glass of wine, before the event finished off with Tiramisu and coffee.

learning to make pasta with Tuscan chef Giovanni Luca Di Pirro

Image credit: COMO Hotels and Resorts

HD: Why Tuscany?

JBB: Tuscany is full of such incredible produce and we’re lucky to have a presence in the region through our sister property COMO Castello Del Nero, located just in the heart of the Chianti. COMO Castello del Nero have recently reopened, and with this takeover we wanted to give Londoners the chance to experience the menu and build an appetite ahead of the reopening. Italian food is familiar and incredibly popular in the UK –  by having showcased the flavours and ingredients specific to Tuscany with a successful collaboration, it is something we now plan to replicate in the future with other partner chefs.

HD: What elements do both hotels share in common?

JBB: Both hotels have been individually curated to reflect their location through design, experiences and of course food and drink. When guests visit either property, the experience is entirely specific to the locale, so it’s fun to play with that concept by bringing a flavour of COMO Castello Del Nero to London.

Of course, all properties within the COMO Hotels and Resorts collection share a passion for wellbeing, whether that be through the COMO Shambhala wellness concept or the use of the freshest seasonal ingredients across F&B operations. Although none of the hotels are the same, their emphasis on responsible living and the memorable power of experiences remains consistent.

fresh handmade pasta from the COMO masterclass

Image credit: COMO Hotels and Resorts

HD: If the menu was reversed, what British dishes would be served up in Tuscany?

JBB: We would serve iconic British dishes such as the traditional Sunday Roast with the very best cuts of meat from the British Isles. We would also serve our own take on the classic Fish and Chips alongside any of the fresh fish, oysters, and scallops from the British coast. For dessert, my personal favourite the Sticky Toffee Pudding is a must.

HD: How did the campaign to transform the feel of COMO Metropolitan London?

JBB: The entire campaign was focused on bringing the warmth of the Tuscan countryside to cold London in the winter. We wanted to bring the flavours, atmosphere and hospitality of Tuscany to town, and I think we achieved that!

flavours of Tuscany on the menu in London

Image credit: COMO Hotels and Resorts

HD: What was your favourite dish on the pop-up menu?

JBB: My favourite dish on the menu was definitely the Spigola, a Mediterranean-style seabass with tomato emulsion and ricotta with cottage cheese. I am a big fan of seafood and this dish was so fresh and full of flavour while respecting the seabass.

This collaborative cross-over project between COMO’s personalised and immersive resorts adds an interesting new chapter to the brands F&B offerings. With COMO London already firmly placed on the London dining scene, sheltering one of the most innovative kitchens in the capital, it is exciting to see how boundaries can shift to create new and transitory experiences.

Main image credit: COMO Hotels and Resorts