Casual Italian joy
Cafe Murano by Angela Hartnett on St James Street is a new Italian restaurant on the former site of the original, much celebrated Petrus. Heavily focused on Northern Italian food with a regular changing menu depending on available fresh ingredients. The concept of Cafe Murano is pretty much Murano but in a much more casual and simpler manner, diners can have a quick lunch by the bar or just a single item off the menu instead of a full on meal which is ideal for people with little time but demanding high quality food at the same time.
Warm octopus was tender and moist, great flavour delivered by the well blended pesto with chickpeas in the mix. The sweet and sour mackerel was nicely seasoned, the raisins enhanced the rich flavour from the mackerel while the pinenuts added a nice crunchy texture, I just love how Italians handle seafood, simple ingredients but with bold and flavoursome outcomes.
|warm octopus, chickpeas, pesto|
|mackerel, raisins, pinenuts|
Moving on to the pasta dishes, wild boar fettuccine had a lovely richness and earthiness from the boar meat, the fettuccine was silky and smooth while the Parmesan cheese gave the whole dish a lovely aroma. Even better was the prawn, tomato, garlic and chili linguini, simple ingredients but with a perfect balance of sweet, sour and spicy taste, everything linked up together wonderfully, it was simplicity at its best. The main of wild sea bass, brown shrimps, baby gem was also a real treat, the bass was cooked spot on, lovely crispy skin whil the brown shrimp added a nice depth of texture and taste.
|wild boar fettuccune|
|prawn, tomato, garlic and chili linguini|
|wild sea bass, brown shrimps, baby gem|
For desert we had the tiramisu and pannacotta with orange. The tiramisu was rather average and I was hoping for a little more than just a simple standard tiramisu, but the pannacotta was simply delicious, texture was great with just the right amount of vanilla in the mix, the orange on the side also added a sharpness of citrus to deliver a nice contrast of flavours.
Overall I enjoyed the food a lot at Cafe Murano, while it was not as exquisite as Murano, the cooking was very solid with lovely Italian flavours. Service was as good as you can get in a "cafe" setting. Friendly, very knowledgeable with a great sense of humour. This place actually reminded me a little like Bocca Di Lupo in terms of the layout and style of the food, but I found Cafe Murano's cooking was just a touch more elegant and far more creative. Well worth visiting for any Italian food lovers.
£55 per head with a cocktail
33 St James's St, St James's, London SW1A 1HD