My first experience of Cin Cin was many years ago when I stumbled across them at a friend’s wedding in the west end. They were serving glasses of prosecco and sharing platters from their fully branded vintage Fiat van, and I remember thinking they should start a west end Italian restaurant. I’ve since visited both of their Brighton restaurants and so was over the moon when I heard a new location on my home turf had been added to their fold.

Cin Cin started in 2013 when then-lawyer David Toscano bought a 1972 Fiat 850 van, kitted it out with bubbles and Italian bites and headed off to a street food event in Brighton with a dream to open his own restaurant. Cin Cin’s handmade pasta and antipasti, as well as a fully stocked Italian bar, very quickly earned them a loyal following. By 2017, they were ranked as sixth in the Top 20 Brighton BEST Restaurant Awards, with David also winning Best Welcome. In the same year, they were reviewed by The Guardian, the BBC Good Food Magazine and the Waitrose Good Food Guide. In 2021, they expanded the Cin Cin brand again by making the jump to London with an opening in Fitzrovia.

The new west end Italian restaurant boasts pride of place on the corner of bustling Foley Street, where there are many other established Italian restaurants. And what is special about Cin Cin? It’s the warm and welcoming feel, the excellent service and the authenticity, which is apparent as soon as you sit down. Their ethos is not to compete for the tourist trade but to build a community of regular customers, and friendly staff.

The monthly changing menu is small and seasonal, focusing on a few high-class dishes with excellent ingredients – perfect for an intimate dinner experience. Smooth burrata, warm soft bread, juicy Italian tomatoes. We opted for the five-course tasting menu, which they happily adapted to create a vegetarian version for me. For starter, juicy nocellara olives and a selection of small plates – beef tartare with roasted peppers and anchovy emulsion, burrata with beetroot caponata and candied walnut, pumpkin mousse with speck, pine nuts and bitter leaves and mackerel with turnips, radishes, parsley and garlic. All of it full of flavour and intrigue.

The main courses included stuffed quail with globe artichoke, leeks and nduja sauce, and roast line-caught sea bass cooked with caramelised celeriac, wild mushroom and truffle ragu with an optional sprinkling of parma, both of which offered innovative combinations and delicious flavours. For pudding, we loved date ice cream affogato and Italian cheeses with chutney, plus cocktails and wine from a creative drinks list. Not to mention the authentic Italian coffee that transports you straight to the heart of Italy. Cin cin indeed!

21a Foley Street, London, W1

Visit the Cin Cin website for the full menu.

Other reviews from online locals:

“If you want the best italian restaurant in town, alongside the best service, then this hidden gem is the place. From the staff to manager to chef, the food and service is sublime!!! If you haven’t tried this place, now is the time, you will NOT regret it!”

“Absolutely exceptional food, service and cocktails in the heart of Fitzrovia. I’d call it traditional Italian food with a French twist in a quaint central London setting. Highly recommended”

“Charming owner/manager. Lovely service. And food delicious. This isn’t the place to come for cheap and mountainous amounts of pasta. Everything is superbly cooked and the portions are moderate but outstanding. Just a few months old but the feel of a neighbourhood restaurant. Five stars.”

“We can’t stop talking about the food! We had a great time, great vibes and the menu was just amazing. The staff’s proactive approach was the icing on the cake.”