Simple Italian at the Strand
located inside the ME London hotel, just on the other side of Summerset house, the newly opened Cucina Asellina provides modern Italian cooking in this 5 stars hotel but at a very reasonable price. I was interested to see the level of cooking here comparing to other big names Italian restaurants in London such as Murano and Apsleys as I heard this place been pretty successful in New York.
The décor is very modern, high ceiling, plenty of spaces with an open kitchen. We sat at the bars while we waited for another friend. I took a look at the cocktail menu but can't seem to find anything I like so I just asked the bartender for a Sidebar, but turn out she doesn't have a clue what that is which was a bit of a shock for me and she had to ask a more senior bartender for help. Really unexpected as after all we were at a hotel restaurant sitting behind its bar!
Anyway onto the food, the bread was decent, however the quality of olive oil was bit of a let down... It tasted like your standard olive oil you get from supermarkets, no depth at all and I expect a lot better than that. However my tuna tartar was good, loved the little bit of avocado inside the raw tuna to add a smooth and creamy texture. The tuna itself were fresh and light, but perhaps it was al little too sour with too much use of Sicilian citrus, but otherwise it was a nice tuna tartar.
My main: Fettuccine, lobster, cherry tomatoes and martini bianco was a quality dish, the fettuccine was cooked at the perfect level, soft yet tender. The pasta sauces really absorbed the flavour of the lobster and the tiny bitterness from the martini worked well with the sweet lobster meat and well cooked cherry tomatoes. I enjoyed it but the problem is you are probably only getting a tablespoon full of lobster meat but yet you got an empty lobster head as a garnish and at £18.... I need to say no more.
|Olive oil mashed potato|
Didn't have space for dessert. (as usual) In the end I found this meal was good but really nothing special, both the starter and main were good but again there are better Italian foods elsewhere in London. Taking away the money for drinks, I paid just under £30 for food, which is reasonable for a hotel restaurant and the service was pretty good which improved the overall dinning experience.
£52 per head, with 2 cocktails and a glass of wine
337 Strand, London, Greater London WC2R 1HA