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Michael Franke
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Autumn set menu: 3 courses £50

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Spitalfields Italian priced for City expense accounts and potentially very noisy, but with food that’s often sublime: skilfully prepared, resonantly flavourful.

Designer Claudio Silvestrin’s showcase modernist restaurant is highly memorable, though not perhaps entirely as intended. At peak times, noise in the glass, porphyry and limestone interior can be overwhelming, and staff have to dance round the large white leather and chrome chairs to catch anything softer than a bellow. The food, however, is often sublime, carefully sourced and skilfully prepared. Beef tagliata was a beautiful construct atop a marrow bone pillar, and its magliocco sauce a pure essence of beefiness. Tagliatelle with wild mushrooms and truffle appeared artless by contrast, but once again the flavours were resonant, yet subtle. Chard and soft cheese tortelli with toasted hazelnuts was a perfect marriage of flavour and textural contrasts. These creations come at City expense-account prices, so any disappointment is irksome – a crab and asparagus starter, while delightfully fresh, was scant and not shell-free. Then again, the set menu with its verdant soup and palate-teasing liquorice zabaglione seemed a bargain. Wines run the gamut from cheery glassful to splash-out showcase, and staff serve even the most modest orders with grace and flair. A special request produced the proud claim: ‘We are Italian, we can do anything.’ Except, perhaps, soften the acoustics.


Venue name: L'Anima
Address: 1 Snowden Street
Opening hours: (From September 2014: open 7 days a week) Bar Open 9am-1am Mon-Fri; 5.30pm-1am Sat. Meals served 9am-11pm Mon-Fri; 5.30-11pm Sat. Main courses £15-£33. Restaurant Lunch served 11.45am-3pm Mon-Fri. Dinner served 5.30-11pm Mon-Fri; 5.30-11.30pm Sat
Transport: Tube: Liverpool Street tube/rail
Price: Main courses £16-£36. Set lunch £24.50 2 courses, £28.50 3 courses
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