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Pucci Pizza on why Mayfair is the new Chelsea

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 11/12/2018 Lizzie Edmonds
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The son of the restaurateur behind a former Chelsea pizza restaurant loved by Rod Stewart, Bryan Ferry and Grace Jones is now spreading his wings to Mayfair after suggesting the King’s Road has become a “ghost town.”

Rufus Albanese and his father Pucci had owned Pucci Pizza in Chelsea for over three decades, closing the much-loved joint for good in 2010. It had been regularly visited by the likes of Diana Ross, Jemima Goldsmith, Christian Bale and the late George Best. The model Sophie Dahl was once a waitress there.

Now Mr Albanese, 44, who used to name the salads after his ex-girlfriends, has opened Pucci Mayfair on Maddox Street. The venue will combine the beloved pizzas from the original restaurant with small plates of Mediterranean-style dishes. The kitchen will be run by his partner Tilly Turbett, who's previously worked for the Ramsay Group in London and Noma in Denmark, while Mr Albanese will run the front of house.

Speaking to the Standard, Mr Albanese said above the move: “Mayfair is the new Chelsea. Nowadays, with people having investment properties in the area, the footfall and the vibe just isn’t the same. It’s a ghost town. It is much harder to make a penny in that area. I am really excited to be doing this in Mayfair where it's alive. Chelsea is no longer the playground of the rich and the famous – its Mayfair now, so that’s where we’re going.”

Speaking about working with his partner, Mr Albanese added: “We are a match made in heaven, she loves the kitchen and me the floor. We are partners in every sense of the word.”

Ms Turbett told the Standard her small plates were influenced by the food of Italy, Turkey and Lebanon and were designed to be shared, mezze style, with a pizza or two on the table.

Ms Turbett, 29, said: “People love a good pizza and with our new dishes and our great service, I think It’s going to be very popular. The trend in London at the moment is small plates, so we wanted to do that well, but they we couldn’t get away with not having the famous Pucci pizza.”


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