Restaurant Reviews

Di Stasio Carlton: Restaurant review

Big flavours and attention to every detail make this new Italian in the neighbourhood a must-visit.

By Michael Harden
Anyone in need of a refresher on how to fall in love with restaurants again should make a date with Di Stasio Carlton. Rinaldo Di Stasio and Mallory Wall's most recent venture is a masterclass in attention to detail, both great (brilliant, wall-sized Reko Rennie art, custom-made furniture, a truly lovely piazza-channelling courtyard complete with gravel and a 17th-century Roman fountain) and small (Martinis served on silver trays with extra olives on ice, anchovies served draped fastidiously over a cheek of lemon, fior di latte soft serve presented in glass bowls the same shade of green as on the servers' uniforms). Add a psychic-adjacent level of service and you have restaurant as artform or performance piece, a meal in every sense. It isn't cheap but bespoke never is.
Di Stasio Carlton opened as Di Stasio Pizzeria late last year but was renamed when it seemed the original name might be underselling the offer. Sure, the latest member in the stable does list a page of very good pizza (48-hour proved bases, Marana oven, house-made mozzarella and fior di latte) that start at Margherita and finish at lobster but there are plenty of rich, robust seams to be mined both sides of the single-sheet menu.
The terrace at Di Stasio Carlton. Photo: Kristoffer Paulsen
The fried tripe snack, for example, is a sublime combination of salt, fat and chew that immediately suggests more drinks, as does the garlic focaccia with its textbook crunchy outer layer. Shiny squares of fazzoletti pasta sparkle orange with salty rich bottarga butter given a top note of wild fennel while wood-fired squid is
a tumble of rustic tentacles thickly coated in a slightly citrusy pangrattato.
There are excellent sides too, fresh and vibrant with colour, like a grill-striped zucchini number flavoured with mint and pecorino while a cucumber and dill salad is given an umami lift with the addition of a healthy slug of colatura di alici.
Photo: Kristoffer Paulsen
There's no surprise that the drinks list skews Italian. The wine list features excellent examples of great Italian grape varieties, whether you're talking vermentino or nebbiolo. Do not forgo a cocktail. They're not just beautifully presented, they pack a punch and, when you're talking a Negroni Sbagliato or an Amaretto Sour (served on the rocks), they're the perfect way to get the Italian-themed party under way.
And Di Stasio Carlton is a party. An energetic, big-flavoured, big-spending, over-imbibing party that reminds you that life should be fun and restaurants like this exist to make it so.