Eat Here: Cafe Murano, Covent GardenBy Alicia Grimshaw
Sundays were made for food – some call it the day of rest, I call it the day of food. Whether it’s a hearty breakfast, a lazy brunch or a slap up lunch – Sundays are all about eating damn good grub.
Don’t get me wrong, I can knock back a fair few Bloody Marys and a plate of pancakes, but sometimes that’s not what I’m seeking on a Sunday. Sometime I’m all about the hearty portions and comforting dishes, and at Cafe Murano that’s exactly what you get. Next time you head out for some fine fare this coming Sunday make sure you head to Cafe Murano – here’s why:
Cafe Murano: The Vibe
Cafe Murano has two branches across the city – St James’ Park and Covent Garden, the latter being our favourite. Cafe Murano attracts a diverse clientele – tables of ladies lunching, family get togethers and dates. It’s a great spot for all of the above.
The restaurant’s decor is stylish, elegant and up market – if there was a place to wear your best shoes, it would be here. The customers are as sleek looking as the furnishings.
The wood cladding walls towards the back of the eatery is what I imagine the dining rooms on the Titanic were decorated like. It’s an intimate space – subtle lighting and marble top tables transports you to a quaint Italian eatery in Florence.
Cafe Murano: The Food
The menu draws inspiration from home cooked Northern Italian meals, with it being the perfect ode to Head Chef’s Angela Hartnett’s childhood. The kitchen takes a simple yet uncompromising approach to Italian cooking, with the menu changing daily.
There’s a selection of antipasti for the warm up. Think, burratta and tomatoes, and cold buttersquash salad. Both light dishes to get your taste buds limbered up. The truffle aranicini balls are soft and gooey – the nutiness of the truffle a big winner.
Ricotta, pesto and pine nut ravioli is the standout starter. The ravioli is served in a copper pot, which is transferred to your bowl at the table, I’m all for a bit of interactive dining. Glorious squares of freshly made pasta coated in a buttery sauce, complete with lemon juice for a citrusy burst. The lemon really lifts this dish to the next level, with the pine nuts adding a delicate crunch.
The octopus with red pepper and cucumber is a dish that reminds us of family holidays in Tuscany. Three words: light, refreshing and moreish. Select ingredients that when brought together create some big flavours on the plate.
If you’re in need of your pasta fill the lobster spaghetti with garlic, parsley and San Marzano tomatoes ticks all the boxes. Firstly, the lobster is super fresh – the finest ingredients are at the forefront of Cafe Murano. The sauce isn’t overly thick and really lets the lobster do all the talking. Hefty hunky of lobster coated in a tangy garlic sauce. Delicious.
Stone bass isn’t a fish you always see on a menu, and shouldn’t be confused with sea bass. Stone bass is a deep water fish that is meatier than its fishy cousins, but also boasts a fantastic subtle taste. Sticking to simple cooking the fish is set atop a comforting fennel and tomato stew. It’s one of those dishes that you’d love to create at home, but never quite execute it right. It may be coming up to spring soon, but this is a proper winter warmer.
The dessert menu is a treasure trove of tasty sweets. For a more typical pudding, the pana cotta served with rhubarb is a nice way to round off a meal and won’t leave you feeling like you need to hit the hay for a few hours. If you’re after something on the sweeter side, the carrot cake with orange mascarpone is a belter. The carrot cake is lightly spiced and is served with a top notch mascarpone that has been infused with a hint of orange. It’s the stuff of Sunday dessert dreams. And, in true Italian fashion the tiramisu is up there with the best. They’ve got the coffee, booze and cream ratio down to a tee.
Cafe Murano: The Verdict
It’s hard find fault with Cafe Murano. They’ve nailed Italian cuisine without overly complicating dishes, but still staying true to their roots. It’s not only worth your precious pennies, but it’s worth your precious time. Order a bottle of their finest wine, that beef and while a way a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon – I promise you, you won’t regret it.