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Café Murano Covent Garden

Restaurants, Italian Covent Garden
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(14user reviews)
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Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

A second branch of Angela Hartnett's Italian gem specialising in laid-back luxe, with a focus on dishes from the north of the country.

Opened in 2013, Café Murano in St James’s is a marble and dark leather affair. This new Covent Garden branch is a more relaxed version, and well suited to the bustle of the ‘Opera Quarter’. 

Downstairs brims with lively post-work/pre-theatre conversation; upstairs is airy and calm, offering more opportunities to interact with the friendly, professional staff. This is chef Angela Hartnett’s second spin-off of her Michelin-starred Murano in Mayfair. 

Hartnett’s style of Italian cooking wins hearts for its big flavours and minds for its just-so technique. In her kitchen, peasant classics such as braised lamb shoulder with Tuscan beans and celery reach delicious new heights: the tenderness of the meat a testament to slow-cooking mastery.  

There are plenty of winning dishes on the menu here, ranging from small cicchetti to large secondi, and prices allowing for a modest meal or an indulgent feast. Broad bean and rosemary arancini are basically little parmesan bombs, while the melt-in-the-mouth veal tartare – rightly the pride of the house – is lightly dressed in a delicate tuna sauce with caper berries. 

Some other suggestions: firmly textured caponata with aubergine and green olives; delicate, fresh tagliatelle Bolognese with minced lamb and veal; or push the boat
out with an intensely tender rabbit leg, summer onions, chilli and pecorino (more of that slow cooking). The wine list has picks from small Italian producers starting at £22, with 500ml carafes for £13. House-made plum negronis make for robust palate awakeners. Note that from 3-5pm Monday through Saturday, the selection of dishes is somewhat smaller than at lunch and dinner. 

The kitchen service is a bit on the slow side, but it’s nice to be somewhere that doesn’t have a quick-turnover feel. Café Murano is a reminder of how satisfying ingredient-led Mediterranean cooking can be – and with Bella Italia and Strada just across the road, it’s also a glaring message that the bar on Italian food in Covent Garden has been significantly raised. 

By: Ananda Pellerin

Posted:

Details

Address: 34-36 Tavistock Street
London
WC2E 7PB
Transport: Tube: Covent Garden
Price: Dinner for two with wine: around £70.
Contact:
Opening hours: Mon-Sat noon-10.45pm, Sun noon-4pm.
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Users say (14)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:6
  • 4 star:5
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|14
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tastemaker

I had been looking forward to dining at Cafe Murano for some time now, however was severely disappointed. Pasta was bland, with very little meat for both the crab linguini and the sausage ragu. Nice warm and welcoming restaurant inside, but thats where the positives end. 


Great when it first opened, one of the best risottos in London- have been back a few times and there's just no consistency- also the quality of the food has dropped. Brexit?!


I found the food really bland in particular the pasta but the pasta is fresh and very popular with little kids and it's nice and bright inside too.


This place is fantastic! I wasn't sure what to expect, but the decor is beautiful, and has this weird way of transporting you out of busy london and into a tuscan village. The food was incredible and service flawless. Yum! Would happily eat there again.

Staff WriterStaff Comp

Great food and attentive service - a winning formula every time!


Good but not brilliant (in my view) . Great location, friendly service and my friend's pasta dish gave me food envy. However my seafood risotto did not score with me, so I can't give it a rave review. One positive was the price. Two of us had single course lunch with a glass of wine for under £50. In this part of town that's not bad.  

Staff Writer

Are you looking for somewhere that delivers amazing food, charming atmosphere, exceptional service in charming, calm and delightful restaurant? Then this is one place you have to go. The Sea Bream ceviche, fennel, chilli & orange as antipasti is wonderful, the Partridge, polenta, kale & chestnuts for a main is an incredible blend of flavours and composition. The wine list is well balanced and delight to choose from. A personal new favourite.


Wonderful food, in a relaxed and sophisticated atmosphere, with great service. Simple dishes with complex flavours - as Italian food should be. Also an excellent value pre/post theatre menu (£60 for three courses, inc service and a carafe of wine for two). Thoroughly recommended.

Also quite possibly the best risotto I've ever eaten.

Tastemaker

Absolutely delicious Italian food!


I had a mozzarella and fig starter and pumpkin ravioli as a main. Both were lovely and the portions were really generous.


The restaurant seemed to mix up my friends order but they could not have been more apologetic. While she waited for them to re-do her order they brought her an antipasti plate and gave us a dessert on the house.


The staff were all so friendly and attentive which you don't alway get in Covent Garden. Because this restaurant is slightly tucked away on Tavistock Street, it doesn't seem to get the usual tourist crowds. It makes for the perfect pre-theatre spot.



Tastemaker

I had coffee and dessert here and it was delightful. On a rather quieter part of Covent Garden where you can sit outside if the weather is nice, i got to enjoy the Muscavado Tart with Creme Fraiche in the sun. It was really uniquely tasty. Will definitely go back for more!

Tastemaker

Get a table upstairs under the impressive skylight, as downstairs is more cramped and can be dark. The food really is very good, though it can add up, for two with just one glass of wine each, lunch came to £100, which is a bit steep for lunch. Non the less the pasta is spot on, the anti pasti creative and the meat main courses lovely and with the charred quality that Italians like with there meat, though thankfully still moist and not dry as it tends to be in Italy. I you are after a high quality Italian and dont mind the cost, then this is the perfect place to go.

Staff Writer

Whilst the venue can get cramped, the food is worth the possibility of little space between tables. I would highly recommend the rabbit and the pigeon - two meats you would not normally associate with Italy, but this is Northern Italian cooking with a twist and it is excellent.

Tastemaker

Covent Garden has seen a resurgence in quality restaurants over the past few years; from Balthazar to Jar Kitchen, several eateries are contributing to its transition from tourist trap to foodie destination.  Angela Hartnett's second Cafe Murano outpost is relaxed Italian eating in sophisticated surroundings.  


Rich, flavoursome fare combined with reasonably-priced wine sourced from small Italian producers, Cafe Murano is a good date night option.  The broad bean & rosemary arancini cicchetti is a burst of flavour and the gnocchi and risotto are hearty portions; the star of the meal is the signature muscovado tart with crème fraiche, pairing well with a glass of Runchet Moscato. This is elevated Italian cuisine that won’t break the bank, and the set lunch and theatre menus are good value.

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