Cafe Murano – London SW1A
November 14, 2013 § Leave a comment
Angela Hartnett opens a “cafe” that’s unlike any I’ve ever been to. But I’m certainly not complaining.
Angela Hartnett’s newest opening is an upmarket and stylish restaurant, nestled down on St James’s Street. Excitingly I was able to secure a luncheon table for their first service during their soft opening, so as it’s literally just opened (officially last night!), I’m kinda excited to let you all know about it!
The ‘Truffle arancini‘ (£3) immediately caught my eye and it should catch yours. As soon as you cut into those beautifully crisp little balls of comforting risotto, wafts of truffle are released. It was really rather joyously good. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
We started with wine.
I ordered a bottle of the Sicilian ‘Poggio Anima Grill0 ”Uriel” ‘(£24). If I’m being honest, I didn’t recognise many on the list and was kinda just taking a chance, but it was in fact a superb choice; light and dry with a delicate sweetness to it. Very easy and very enjoyable drinking if I do say so myself.
Starters of ‘Sweet and sour whole sardines‘ (£9.5) and ’Swiss chard & ricotta tortelli‘ (£7) arrived with little side dishes so we could share. Sardines would not normally be my first choice, but my lunch date Sean was intrigued and rightly so – the flesh pulled away from the bone at the nudge of a fork and was just lovely with the bitter leaves and sweet dried fruits that accompanied it. The tortilli was rich and creamy, stuffed full to bursting with flavour. But the highlight of the meal was yet to come.
My main course of ‘Monkfish tail, brown shrimps, baby gem‘ (£19.5) was wonderful. The meatiness of the monkfish was balanced with the light and slightly salty shrimps, whilst again those golden-raisin-like little gems of goodness added a surprising sweetness. The ’Guinea fowl, wet polenta, chestnuts‘ (£15.5) was full of the flavours of game and was as enjoyable as a big bear hug. It was Sean’s first introduction to game but I doubt it will be his last.
A couple of sides of ‘Roast butternut,sage‘ (£3.75) and ‘Cabbage, chestnuts‘ (£3.75) weren’t really necessary but certainly weren’t an unwelcome addition. That said, we were so full, we barely even glanced at the dessert menu before ordering the bill, so maybe skip the sides if you have a sweet tooth.
I thoroughly enjoyed Cafe Murano and that’s not because I got a little bit tipsy at 2pm on a Monday! The food was comfortingly good, the service professional and proper whilst still welcoming and the relaxed ambience made for a thoroughly pleasant afternoon. As I went during soft opening, I did get my meal at a 50% discount, but I would happily have paid the full cost, and will happily do so on my next visit, which I’m looking forward to already.