The latest outpost of Angela Hartnett’s growing empire is the new Café Murano on Tavistock Street in Covent Garden. This little sister of her flagship Murano restaurant in Mayfair and sibling of Café Murano on St James’s Street.
Upon entering the dimly lit restaurant we were greeted warmly by the Maître D who led us to our table, a lovely leather booth to the rear of the dining room. Decor here is simple and elegant. Dark oak and soft lighting make it feel extremely special and is the sort of place that you can spend hours with good company over lovely food and wine.
The service, albeit a little slow at times, was excellent. The staff are friendly, sharing stories and giving their recommendations making you feel that that they really want you to enjoy your evening.
We settled on a bottle of Cabernet and also sampled their special cocktail of the day; a twist on the Aperol Spritz, it was mixed with apricots to give it a slightly sweeter taste.
To begin, we ordered a couple of Cicheti; Broad bean & Rosemary Arancini, Courgettes with hazelnuts, & mint lemon and Antipasti of Portland Crab with scorched Onions & apple and Agnolotti filled with guinea fowl & apricots. The arancini are some of the best we have sampled. Small in size but filled with flavour. The courgette salad was simple but again the flavour combination was on point, especially for summer evenings. The Agnolotti was excellent too, the meat wasn’t too over-powering and was wrapped in a light pasta that made you want to have piece after piece after piece.
To follow we had Farfelle with peas & girolles, Gnocchi in a robiolo, rosemary & black olive sauce, Roasted stone bass with tomato & fennel stew and Roasted pigeon with Castle Franco, mustard & yoghurt. We loved both the pasta dishes. The gnocchi and olive combination is something new to us, but it works. The earthy flavour of the olives complimented the light cheese sauce and the pillow-y potato gnocchi was fresh and soft to bite. The farfelle was again something that we would have over and over again and is ideal for the summer months. A light butter sauce brought the pasta and vegetables together and showcased the dishes key ingredients.
We very rarely see Stone bass on a menu but when we do we jump to the chance to order it. It was exactly how we like it; flaky with a crispy skin the melted on the tongue. The accompanying stew was also deep in flavour which worked with the lightness of the fish. The pigeon was cooked nicely, still pink and slightly bloody with a charred skin. We have read that others didn’t like the yoghurt but we thought it was a great addition to the plate. With the charred taste of the bird, it actually was a light refreshing taste.
For dessert, we had to order the famous Muscovado Tart. The thinnest pastry bottom we have seen in a while with a sweet, wobbly, top. The perfect dessert to finish off a wonderful evening. We cannot wait to visit the other siblings in the Murano family after now experiencing the delectable dishes at this branch.
36 Tavistock Street, London, WC2 7PB