Tag Archives: london

Café Murano – London

“Angela Hartnett’s informal Italian emporium doesn’t disappoint”

 Housed alongside more mainstream offers in Covent Garden the Cafe Murano cuts a rather elegant dash. Tastefully understated sagey green paintwork with gold lettering smacked of class. We’d booked a 5.30 session on account of a classical ‘Evanescence’ gig on the South Bank (a pleasant stroll over Waterloo Bridge).

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We ventured in. Its like The Tardis, it goes back miles. Its already bustling, so much so we are eventually seated upstairs beneath a latticework roof. Blue leather, smart oak work and graphical prints took the eye.

We’re soon on the menu. A sumptuous a La Carte is on offer, though we plumb for the single A5 sheet, easter special, three courses for £28. A sixteen pound demi decanter of red is soon in situ, along with the branded water.

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An amouse bouche of mushroom arancini is wolfed down with glee. I order up the octopus with baby gem, datterini and basil salad. Perfect slices of tender tentacle with a beautifully dressed, simple salad. The Flame went for an equally simple tuna cappachio, grapefruit, samphire, chilli and hazelnut salad. Both exquisite.

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For the main course I went for the lamb roast, salsa rosso, jersey royals with mint and fennel. For an extra £4 I went for a cheesy dollop of salty polenta. The lamb melted with flavour. The Flame had the sea bream with baby gem and a Sicilian caponata. She also had a mixed salad side. By now the place had filled up and the wine was flowing.

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Our service, as expected was exemplary. We chose desserts off piste so to speak. I had arguably the best tiramisu Ive ever had. Wonderfully soft, boozy and creamy. The Flame had a slightly disappointing cheese dish. Marred slightly by the mustard jelly accompaniment which wasn’t to her taste at all. It was pretty powerful stuff I must admit.

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All in all though a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Smart service, elegant surroundings with beautifully simple food made using the finest ingredients. Angela has a deli next door (Pastificio) and another smarter gaff in St James Street. We didn’t get chance to check the others out but I’m sure they’ll all be quality. I’d be there again in a shot…

0203 535 7884
coventgarden @cafemurano.co.uk
34 Tavistock Street
London WC2E 7PB

020 7240 3654
coventgarden @cafemurano.co.uk
36 Tavistock Street
London WC2E 7PB
Pastificio

020 3371 5559
reception @cafemurano.co.uk
33 St. James’s Street
London SW1A 1HD

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Toulouse Lautrec – Kennington, South London

Work commitments found me cooped up in a back street boozer in London’s Elephant and Castle, south of the river. Upon enquiry with my host as to the whereabouts of a decent nosh up, it was suggested the ‘eat as much as you can’ Chinese on the first floor of the local shopping precinct was as good as it gets! I was somewhat perturbed. Further pressure finally coaxed from the depths of his memory murky details of a little French place somewhere close. He even recalled that cockney regular Terry, had “took his a bird there but it cost him hundred nicker’. I pressed further and within minutes I had stumbled into Toulouse Lautrec situated on Newington Butts in Kennington.

It was a warm and welcoming entrance, particularly as I was dining without the flame. The dining room is long, narrow and on two levels. Dark wooden panelling and wooden steps gave the impression I was walking onto an old galleon. A very pleasant French waitress set up a single table on the upper deck right by the window looking out onto the busy street. Several tables were already burbling away nicely with business chaps. Jazz music, evidently a big feature of the place was plonking away in the background. Having forgotten my readers the exquisite font adorning the menu made me plump straight for the three courses for £27 special. And ye gods it was special.
Starters was a clam and mustard cassoulet, in basil cream and crispy toasts. It was absolutely sensational, one of the finest starter dishes I have had in many years. Great flavours and beautifully presented in a small cast iron pot.

Main course was guinea fowl, courgettes, garlic mushrooms and beautifully soft, barrel shaped fondant potatoes. Set in a large blue and yellow bowl it looked and tasted superb. The sommelier, clearly very talented brought me a glass of light, Spanish red to accompany. All rather grand. As good as this was I couldn’t help looking across with some envy as three chaps dove into a huge hearty bowl of cassoulet to share. The groans of delight seemed to suggest that this was also ‘hitting the spot’.

I finished off with my standard tarte au citron, complete with ‘kumquat’!

I have to say after what was looking like a night in my room with a KFC and pint of mild, Toulouse Lautrec came bounding to the rescue to produce arguably the best meal I’ve had in ages. So, even as a Northerner helpless in the great Metropolis, I would have no hesitation in wheedling out this gallic gem.

Contact Us:
140 Newington Butts, Kennington, London SE11 4RN
0207 582 6800
info@btlrestaurant.com