We are back in London and heading for lunch in Covent Garden at Cafe Murano. Cafe Murano is the little sister to Angela Hartnett’s Mayfair restaurant. It is relatively quiet when we arrive but it feels elegant and civilised without being overly formal. Given the link with Angela Hartnett, it is no surprise to find the menu is heavily focused on Italian cuisine.
Rock chooses the bruschetta with roasted peppers and gorgonzola as her starter, while I am having the salt cod fritters with parmesan and lemon. The bruschetta tastes exactly as it sounds on the menu – good flavours but it is not overly exciting. The salt cod fritters are fantastic – I’m really not sure how they have made them taste so good! We share a bottle of Amarcord Midona – a golden ale with malty notes and a long finish. Favoloso!
The restaurant is starting to fill up and there is an interesting mix of groups and couples. There is also a good age range… we have a young couple on one side, a slightly older group on the other side and a group of considerable life experience across the way. I’m having a dish described simply as bream, fennel, orange & pistachio. We do not manage to get a decent photo of the dish but the contrast of flavours and textures is extraordinary – crispy skin, crunchy pistachio set against soft bream, fennel and orange. It is one of the best fish dishes I have eaten in a long time!
Rock has chosen the hake with spring greens and San Marzano salsa for her main. It is good but she is not as impressed with the hake as I am with the bream. I still have room for dessert and pick the apricot & pistachio semifreddo. Although it takes a while to arrive I think it still needs to be less frozen. The flavours are really starting to come through in the section I am allowing to defrost a little.
Overall, Cafe Murano has been very enjoyable. The beer and the salt cod fritters were better than good and, if I haven’t mentioned it before, the bream dish was sensational. The atmosphere was sophisticated but still friendly and we had really helpful service from Miguel. Looking ahead, it’s not going to be difficult to persuade us to visit any restaurant with Murano in it’s title.