‘We’re out of tiramisu and the Maia Cup I’m afraid,’ the waiter said apologetically.
He added that it had been a busy day in the patisserie-cum-restaurant and those two sweets had flown off the counter shelves.
This was unsurprising news to me after spending a good few hours at Maia, as this is a little gem of a place that promises to impress, from its chic romantic ambience to its friendly staff and simple but well-done dishes.
Firstly, it wins on location, especially if you’re a shopper.
The corner restaurant is tucked away on Hans Crescent in the heart of the Knightbridge shopping district with Harrods as its neighbour.
From the outside, it’s hard to get what the place is about, but on stepping into the venue and cosying up at one of the tables in the back, you soon get lost in its warm charm.
I visited the place on a Sunday night with a friend after the daytime rush.
We were practically the only ones in there but we relished in the peacefully calm atmosphere, with low lighting and a cool playlist setting the tone.
Starting from the beginning, we kicked off the meal with two glasses of red (the Jorio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Umani Ronchi, Italy) which fit the bill perfectly.
Moving on to starters we opted for the burrata and crispy calamari.
These were both perfect to share, with a breadbasket neatly arranged with soft focaccia and a crisp cracker-like flatbread to mop up the remains of the hug burrata ball.
The deliciously buttery olive oil on the table also got a thumbs up from me.
For mains, my friend went for a seabass pasta dish while I opted for the artichoke and avocado salad.
Just to note that the salad was more of a starter-sized portion, so if you’re looking for something meatier maybe opt for a double portion.
Saying that, the flavours were divine, with finely chopped artichoke contrasting with the creamy texture of the avocado. Some triangular shavings of parmesan finished the dish off.
Don’t leave Maia without trying a dessert.
When you walk into the place there is a tall cake fridge and a cake counter, it is a patisserie after all but these bright cabinets look somewhat out of place when set against the smartness of the back restaurant.
There were certainly more sweets on the menu to choose from than starters.
But due to popularity, the ones we lusted after, the tiramisu and Maia Cup (featuring a blend of custard cream, mixed berries, whipped cream and pistachio granola) were no longer an option.
Instead, we went for a trio of sweets including a fruit tart filled with moreish custard, the cake of the day which was a light sponge with a delicious layer of chocolate ganache, and a rum baba minus the alcohol.
Maia is definitely a place I would return to.
It’s a chic spot, with an unfussy dose of Italian flare.
Plus, I’ve still got to try that sell-out tiramisu…
Maia is located at Maia 32-34 Hans Cres, Knighstbridge, London
To book a table visit maiamood.com or call +44 20 7222 6000