Café Murano St James's

Restaurants, Italian St James'
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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(4user reviews)
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With the opening of Café Murano, proprietor Angela Hartnett has come full circle. It’s on this site, at 33 St James’s Street, that Hartnett honed her craft with Marcus Wareing and Gordon Ramsay when it was still called Pétrus. She has now returned with her fellow sous chef Samantha (Sam) Williams in the role of head chef.

The decor, by the reliable designer Russell Sage, is warm brasserie, with a marble-topped bar bearing some of the 100-stong Italian wine list. The menu’s in equally reliable territory with Italian food drawn from the northern regions – so plenty of hearty pastas, red meat and fowl, truffles and funghi. But the first thing to catch our eye is a little board of battered whitebait, john dory and halibut which turn out to be as light and delicate as they look. A roasted grey mullet adds to the variety.

It’s deceptively simple food, but as the cuisine spans the coastal regions of Liguria and the Veneto and the plains and mountains of Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy, Williams comes unstuck with some of it; charred squash, gorgonzola and walnuts was unbalanced, and a wild boar fettuccine was overly dry. Better was a rich, autumnal dish of guinea fowl with polenta and chestnuts, and a perfect bagna cauda served with a spiky globe artichoke. Williams has a way to go before she reaches the standards of her mentor – let alone Hartnett's one-time mentor. But with a cuisine that’s a surefire winner when done authentically, the odds are on her side.

By: Yolanda Zappaterra

Posted:

Venue name: Café Murano St James's
Contact:
Address: 33 St James’s Street
London
SW1A 1HD
Transport: Tube: Green Park
Price: Around £100 for two with drinks
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Average User Rating

4.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:1
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LiveReviews|4
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Sarah G
Tastemaker

OMG - what a treat. 


I LOVED every minute of Cafe Murano. 


It's tucked away off a street near Green Park. It is really smart without being pretentious or scary. The staff are really fun and friendly - yet know their stuff. We had a really lovely spacious yet intimate round table.


The menu is so enticing, I wanted everything!


Between 4 of us we settled on 2 cichetti, 2 anti pasti, 6 starter portions of unbelievably delicious pasta! Lobster linguine, oxtail ravioli and gnocchi with lamb and onions. The presentation is pretty without being fussy. The portions are decent sized. The flavour - well there are no adjectives to do it justice - so amazing. We also had 3 bottles of delicious wine and some lovely puddings. I had one of my fave combos - chocolate and cherry and my friends had a semi freddo - they described as the best dessert they had ever had, and a hazelnut panna cotta which had the most seductive wobble.


Best of all at the end they were totally relaxed about us hanging about at the table and having few extra drinks.


This was literally a treat and I didn't have to pay the bill but by my calculations it came in at about £60 a head which for the quality, atmosphere and level of restaurant was a bargain. 


I will definitely go back and would urge everyone else to go to!

Lucy Loo
Tastemaker

A beautiful restaurant with delicious Italian cuisine. I was taken for lunch on a Monday and the place was buzzing. The service was excellent and we all enjoyed our food. I went for burrata followed by veal ragu pappardelle, which was the perfect combination for a chilly Monday. They offer a reasonable set menu at lunchtime too. 

dwoodle
Staff WriterStaff Comp

Very simple but exquisite Italian fare. They had incorrectly got the timing of our booking wrong and handled the situation brilliantly ,sitting us at the bar with a free glass of fizz. 10 Minutes later they whisked us away to a table discreetly placed in the corner of the restaurant. the food was very satisfying, beautifully presented and attentively served!. I will return again soon. 

Ladyvp
Tastemaker

I went here for dinner after going to an exhibition nearby and I was very impressed. Despite it being a cold Tuesday night this restaurant was still very busy and most of the tables were full. It has a mixture of locals and suits having their business dinners. 


The menu is very Italian (with the primi, pasta and main course) with the options of cicchettis in case all you feel like is having a few nibles while drinking a very nice glass of wine. I only had a primi and a pasta, while my friend only had a primi and a main course and that was enough to fill us up amply. We both had the sprouting broccoli and artichoke starter which was lovely! For the main my friend had the halibut which she finished really quickly and said was delicious and I had the pumpkin gnocchi which was also really nice however it was dripping with butter (note this is not a place to go if you are watching you waistline). However when the front of house overheard me saying I thought there was too much butter on the dish he went out of his way to thank me for the honest feedback which I think is a sign of a good restaurant. 


The restaurant has an amazing selection of wines which include the infamous orange wines which I did not try on this occasion but they also have really good options of wines by the glass (but these change frequently so when I ordered, having peaked at the menu before going and not even glanced at the wine menu, the wine I wanted was not available anymore but the waitress managed to recommend a really nice replacement). 


The reason I out 4 stars is because, in my opinion I thought the service (except the man in front of house) was a bit cold. I don't like it when waiters are too chatty but the waitress did not try to engage at all with us.