Sette At The Bvlgari Brings New York Energy To London

John Meadow, CEO of LDV Hospitality, oversees a portfolio that includes more than 20 restaurants and bars, located everywhere from Miami to Chicago to Las Vegas. In 2004, Meadow opened his own bar, one of the first rooftop decks in New York, followed by his debut restaurant in the Meatpacking District, which at the wrong time, in the wrong place, was a failure. For Meadow, his career really began when he launched Scarpetta in 2008 to much critical acclaim, including a James Beard Foundation nomination for best restaurant in the country. And in 2019, he brought the celebrated brand to London with the opening of Sette at The Bvlgari Hotel in Knightsbridge.

You’ve described Scarpetta’s approach as “comfortable but aspirational” – how do you achieve that? The high-low balance of comfortable yet effortless aspirational elegance, the art of sprezzatura it’s at the heart of everything we do at Scarpetta. The kitchen’s philosophy is to amplify the goodness of ingredients, elevating a dish from comfort to elegant indulgence. The best example of this is our signature Scarpetta spaghetti.

What would you say are the staples of a quintessential New York restaurant? What New York restaurants do best is create buzz. Not the cheesy buzz of a club/restaurant, but a natural, convivial space where you feel a connection with the other patrons around you.

Your hospitality group, LDV, is named after the Italian concept of la dolce vita – how do you incorporate this idea into your restaurants and bars? For me the concept of The sweet life is rooted in the charm of each day. It’s not about exclusivity or superficial decadence, it’s about charming indulgences every day. It can be as simple as the perfect espresso served with a smile, or a full night of dancing after a seven-course tasting menu. We achieve this through our people, whom we empower to show their true selves and always be authentic with our guests.

Why did you choose London and specifically Bvlgari London to open Sette by Scarpetta? London is one of the capitals of the world. Our ambition to expand the brand internationally could only have started in London, and what better location than the iconic Bvlgari London. We named the restaurant Sette as it was our seventh location.

What are some of the main differences between the markets for restaurants and hospitality in New York and London? In London, the clientele is more international and appreciates more nuance and refinement than New York guests, who appreciate the coziness that a restaurant offers. Another exciting aspect of London is the products, while I greatly respect and admire the farmers and all the artisan suppliers we work with in the US, European ingredients are simply better and more in touch with mother nature. However, what I will always love about my city – there is no magic on earth like New York night.

How has Sette by Scarpette changed and adapted since opening? What did you learn about the London market that surprised you? We opened in June 2019, and after just eight full months, we opened and closed three more times with the pandemic. While this is the same for everyone, it was particularly challenging to find our rhythm. Fortunately, we are now getting into our own. What I like about the London market is that quality wins. You have to earn the market’s respect (and that’s earned with quality), but once you earn it, you also have its loyalty.

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