|Chef||Giorgio Locatelli (1995–2001)|
|Food type||Italian cuisine|
|Street address||15 Lowndes Street|
|Postal code/ZIP||SW1X 9EY|
|Seating capacity||250 seats|
Zafferano is an Italian restaurant located in London, and was originally run by Giorgio Locatelli on behalf of A-Z Restaurants until 2005. The restaurant was awarded one Michelin star in 1999, which it held until this star was stripped from it 2012.
Zafferano was opened by chef Giorgio Locatelli in February 1995 in Knightsbridge, London. The restaurant's name comes from the Italian for saffron. The location had previously been a fish restaurant, but under Locatelli the new restaurant served Italian food. The major investor in the restaurant was Claudio Pulze, who owned the restaurant through his company A-Z Restaurants. Locatelli's pay was based on percentage of the overall performance of the restaurant. Chef Angela Hartnett worked at the restaurant as she rotated around the A-Z Restaurants range of establishments.
The restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in the list published in 1999. While as chef-proprietor of Zafferanno, Locatelli was named the Outstanding London Chef of 2001 at the London Restaurant Awards, but shortly afterwards left the restaurant following disagreements with new head of A-Z Restaurants, Giuliano Lotto. Andrew Needham took over as head chef, having previously been sous chef to Locatelli.
After A-Z Restaurants went into administrations in November 2004, Locatelli stated publically that he was interested in purchasing Zafferano. The group, including Zafferano, was sold back to Claudio Pulze with new partner John De Stefano. In 2007, Pulze sold his share of the company to De Stefano. The restaurant expanded during the same year, and opened a delicatessen.
The restaurant's menu is influenced by the previous restaurants which Locatelli worked at, including The Savoy Hotel and at Olivio, where the menu was centred on Italian peasant foods. It initially launched with a series of set price menus, with the idea that the menus would be changed on a monthly basis. The dishes avoid using butter as an ingredient, only one dish in the original 1995 menu was served with butter—a dish of pappardelle pasta with chicken livers and sage.
Desserts have included strawberries drizzled with sixty-year-old balsamic vinegar. Although saffron fibres are woven into the covers of the bill cover, the process was too expensive to repeat for the covers of the menus. Between 1997 and 2005, the average cost of a meal at the restaurant increased by 65%, from £34 to £56.
Matthew Norman, writing for The Telegraph in 2003, described it as "one of the best restaurants around", although he did criticise the attitude of its staff. In 2011 Time Out gave the restaurant four out of five stars, but thought it was quite expensive. It was awarded three AA Rosettes in 2009. In 2011, the restaurant was named 55th in the list of the top restaurants in the UK by The Good Food Guide.
- "A passion for pasta". Caterer and Hotelkeeper. 28 May 1998. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
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- "Claudio Pulze to sell shares in A-Z group". Caterer and Hotelkeeper. 1 February 2007. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- "Zafferano Delicatessen, London". Caterer and Hotelkeeper. 28 June 2007. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
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- "Cost of eating out in London soaring". Caterer and Hotelkeeper. 15 September 2005. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
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- "Zafferano". Time Out. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- Frewin, Angela (15 January 2009). "AA 3-rosette restaurants in London". Caterer and Hotelkeeper. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- Kühn, Kerstin (11 August 2010). "Celebrity chefs top the Good Food Guide list". Caterer and Hotelkeeper. Retrieved 30 July 2012.