Setting up shop as a new restaurateur in central London is no mean feat. How do you distinguish yourself from the mainstream and mundane, how do you reimagine dining, and give the guest an experience through ambience and quality of service and food that is unmatched? Forget Michelin stars, here is something far more precious and interesting. We have a new chapter in the saga of London dining in a street rich in hospitality history, Dover Street.

In the vibrant tapestry of his industry, there exists a singular figure whose charisma, boundless warmth, genuine kindness, and unwavering dedication elevate the guest experience to unparalleled heights. Known for being the brilliant and imaginative former Soho House group COO, Martin Kuczmarski is now making his mark with the brand-new venture The Dover, a stylish New York Italian Bar Restaurant.

Armed with a wealth of experience and creative spirit, Martin has set out to realise his vision and is channelling old-fashioned hospitality, which manages to create an unforgettable experience. In the heart of a bustling city, where the rhythm of life pulses through every street corner, we find The Dover to be a haven for food enthusiasts. Although conceived as an evening dining venue, The Dover invites you to Sunday Lunch Club, once a month, bringing together friends and family around the table for food, drink and fun.

A discreet front and red sumptuous velvet curtains embellish the modest entrance of The Dover. Inside, with its curved wooden walls, you immediately feel at home. Sharing a Martini or two at the stylish bar with our host before heading for dinner, Martin tells us the story of how the idea was born for the design of The Dover.

His eyes alighting with excitement, ´Imagine Sophia Loren in Portofino´, he began, his voice tinged with intrigue, Our curiosity was piqued by the idea of Sophia taking the Orient Express to Paris and then flying the Concorde to New York to meet Al Pacino over a bowl of New York style spaghetti meatballs. Martin’s intriguing and alluring tale flowed like a river, this was our foreplay before heading into the main dining room. The space leading to it is long and rather narrow with a mosaic of black and white tiles reminiscent of some stylish Italian-style movie, hiding some very private enclaves where secrets can be shared. Yet, this is also true for the modestly sized dining room where acoustic design has been pitched to perfection allowing guests to enjoy their conversations in private.

So many things about The Dover are old-school, including indifference to social media, and music from vinyl. Martin has made all his idiosyncrasies work in his favour, all the tricks of the trade from 32 years in the industry, from the Ritz in Paris through working with Alain Ducasse, Marco Pierre White and Nick Jones. He does this with unparalleled attention to detail, silk woven napkins, high candles, double tablecloth, unobtrusive, tactful service, sumptuous atmosphere and maybe most importantly a menu that is simply unpretentious, the prawn cocktail starter with Marie Rose & New York horseradish sauce, the spaghetti meatballs pasta and ‘The Dover’, a sole served as a signature dish with chilli, lime and samphire.

You might think that such a niche and novel restaurant would take advantage and be tempted to hike prices but you would be mistaken. On the contrary, cocktails are from £15, starters from £10 and plenty of mains in the mid-£20s, rather less than can be found at the neighbours. People are flocking to The Dover and the critics write raving reviews so Martin must be getting it right. ‘Hospitality is simple — just make the customer happy, and everything else will work’. he says. We allow ourselves to be transported to bygone days of true style in the cosy embrace of an authentic Italian restaurant with the spirit of New York, exuding an unmistakable energy and flair that captures the essence of the metropolis at its best.