New Restaurant MAIA Knightsbridge opening mid-December

Maia is a chic brasserie sitting on Hans Crescent in the heart of Knightsbridge. This latest addition to the smartest of London postcodes is open for lunch, afternoon tea, aperitivo and everything else through to dinner

An exciting line-up of talent sees Michelin-trained Head Chef, Mauro di Leo at the stove while directing the beverage offering is the award-winning and avant-garde drinks specialist, Richard Woods. For those in pursuit of nutritional excellence, wellness advocate in-residence, Francesca ‘The Method’ Giacomini’s menu is perfectly positioned for mindful eating.

Referencing the 1960s, mono-colour interiors are shot through with tasteful geometric prints making for chic and minimalist décor giving Maia the requisite glam for this cosmopolitan corner of the capital.

Oversized prints of sixties models nod to David Bailey’s iconic work, the ‘Box of Pin-ups’. But take a closer look and you’ll find one of them is an animated screen.

Swish, but subtle interiors await. Comfortable chairs and soft banquettes in sumptuous dark leather are assembled around dark, glass-topped tables – ideal for leisurely lunches or lingering afternoon teas. Wrap-around floor to ceiling windows afford views over exclusive Hans Crescent and its passers-by.

Like the decade’s iconic Chanel 2.55, Maia is style and elegance irrevocably bound. Pared-back and classic, Maia is destined to become the most sought-after social haunt for its international residents. This refined spot gathers sophisticates, sybarites, business executives and global citizens for lightness and whispers of gossip and for lazily whiling away an afternoon nibbling on the most delicate of finger sandwiches and cakes.

Chef Di Leo’s approach is one of balance and less-is-more, leaving seasonal ingredients nowhere to hide.

Take for example, sweet, plump scallops juxtaposed against the pleasantly astringent notes of sea kale and the sweetness of light pea puree. Or a perfectly grilled sea bass enlivened with nothing but fruity datterini tomatoes and their salty foil, a Taggia olive concasse. Chef’s classic spaghetti vongole belies the flavour it packs from judicious amounts of white wine and sparkling fresh clams expertly cooked. All finished of course with the long peppery notes of extra-virgin olive oil. Those exquisite Italian ingredients – datterini tomatoes, extra Vecchio Balsamic and artisan extra-virgin olive oil from Piedmont, assure sensational results.

Mindful eaters are encouraged to choose dishes designed by ‘Francesca The Method’ whose micro menu adventures into ancient grains, healing herbs, dairy-free options and gluten-free breads. Optimum nutrition from the wellness advocate in-residence is realised through dishes such as lightly-cooked king salmon with textures of millet and aromas of sage, to a vegan burger that brings nutritionally-dense beetroot and cauliflower together in a patty-less bun with the satisfying crunch of sweet potato fries.

But Maia is not all about careful eating and an indulgent selection of cakes, baked daily in-house, beckons guests to stay awhile and relax over a laid-back afternoon tea. Diminutive finger sandwiches come filled with the tastiest of combinations such as egg, anchovies, soft cheese and capers. The obligatory scones are soft and freshly-baked served with berry jams, clotted cream and for extra delicious sinfulness, four Italian pasticcini – ethereally light bakes whose flavours evolve with the seasons. It’s hard to resist taking away Maia’s pastries and cakes not least for the exquisitely-designed gift box – a style statement in itself.

All through the day and into the night, Maia’s cocktail bar promises the latest in drinks. Conjuring the Maia Mood through mixology, Woods has applied his genius to take guests on a delicious journey around Italy’s classic cocktails all the while giving them his very own inimitable twist.

With a presence rightly earned on the global stage, Woods brings unbridled creativity to Maia and a repertoire of exclusively-crafted cocktails of Italian classics evolved into the extraordinary and new. There are those lively with citrus notes such as the ‘Sgroppino’ where Woods marries lemon sorbet, lemon verbena cordial and prosecco; clean, fresh and lively. The ‘Elegante,’ is precisely that – light rum, a hint of gin, pleasantly tangy blood orange liqueur with extra zest from clarified citrus. It is the vanilla underlying that gives structure whilst perfectly illustrating Wood’s genius. A fruity mocktail, be it citrussy, tropical or creamy is always on hand for those days of abstinence.

At Maia, the experience is completed with renowned architect of sound, Sam Starks. By night, his curation of smooth sounds, played live from 5pm, are guaranteed to put you in the Maia Mood.

32 – 34 Hans Crescent, Knightsbridge, SW1X0LZ
Booking: 020 7222 6000