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Restaurants, Italian Covent Garden
4 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)
Venue says Fumo is a new concept cocktail bar, all day restaurant and late lounge, part of the San Carlo Group.

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Sleek small plates from the people behind Signor Sassi and San Carlo Cicchetti.

It’s always Fashion Week at Fumo. At least that’s how it feels: all buzz and beautiful people. Plus a smattering of tourists – it is on St Martin’s Lane, after all – looking pretty pleased with processions of chichi Italian sharing plates from this latest outpost of the San Carlo empire (Signor Sassi, Cicchetti etc).

To my left, two dapper dans were on date night, sporting expensive, ostentatiously placed manbags. Along the counter, a gaggle of couture-chasing holidaymakers, inspecting their fresh manicures. All around, people, people, people. The space is huge, tables tight, but it’s packed to bursting. Were those mirrors? Nope. More bodies.

The waiters – mostly ludicrously handsome David Gandy-alikes – pirouette around the tables effortlessly. The room is elegant, in a high-fashion, Milanese way: rolling swathes of marble (dark on the floor, creamy on the walls), luxurious upholstery and warm, flattering light.

As for the food, it was mostly excellent. There was a silken burrata layered with parma ham and earthy black truffle shavings (a snip at £9.95, given the ingredients). Or a trio of crunchy-on-the-outside-ragu-in-the-middle arancini (£5.65). Then nicely al dente pasta: a plate of little-seen paccheri (oversized tubes) with tuscan pork sausage and calabrian chilli (£9.25) or tagliatelli with ‘nonna’s’ six-hour bolognese (£7.95). The reason I’m listing all the costs – correct at the time of writing – is this. These are palatial surrounds at Pizza Express prices. There are a couple of things to avoid (overcooked beef tagliata; too-sweet cannoli), but otherwise, this is somewhere that looks more expensive than it actually is. And for that, it’s completely fabulous, darling.

Fumo says
The Italian family owned and run group which has 17 leading UK restaurants, including the original and hugely popular San Carlo on Temple Street and Fumo on Waterloo Street, is to open a Fumo restaurant, champagne and cocktail bar at Selfridges in Birmingham this Autumn.

Fumo will be located in Selfridges on the 4th floor with stunning views overlooking the iconic Bullring. With a nod to the popular and critical success of its Fumo restaurants in Birmingham, Manchester and St Martins Lane, London, Fumo will serve delicious, seasonal Italian small plate dishes to share or eat alone and a feature bar will specialise in cocktails and Laurent Perrier champagne.

The £1m restaurant will be the third Selfridges San Carlo Group restaurant – San Carlo Bottega and Gran Café are situated within Selfridges Exchange Square, Manchester.

The Group’s success has been built on providing original Italian food using the freshest produce, much of which is flown in from markets in Milan and Sicily. It is this passion for food and attention to detail that has seen Fumo on Waterloo Street scoop several awards since its

launch 5 years ago including Best Italian Restaurant at the BFDH Awards and Les Routiers Restaurant of the Year.

A further 16 individually designed venues are located in Manchester, Cheshire, Liverpool, Leeds, Roundhay, Bristol, Leicester and London and further afield diners enjoy San Carlo restaurants in Qatar, Bahrain and Bangkok.


Address: 37 St Martin’s Lane
Transport: Tube: Leicester Square
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £85.
Opening hours: Mon – Thurs 11:30am – 11:30pm Friday & Sat 11:30am – Midnight Sun 11:30am – 10:30pm
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Users say (2)

3 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
3 people listening

The inside of the restaurant is beautiful, the wine was good but the food is too pricey for what you get. We ordered the lamb cullets and it came 2 of them with a piece of lemon for 14£. The Ravioli Lobster was the same, 12£, for 3 ravioli and the sauce barely tasted like lobster. In general we didn't feel that the food was worth the cost. The menu is way too many options being a bit overwhelming. 


Fumo is conveniently located next to the London Coliseum, making it a great place for a pre-theatre dinner. Also, they take reservations so there’s no need to queue and then be rushing to a show afterwards. Fumo does “Italian Tapas” and they recommend two items from the menu per person. The menu must have had over 100 items on it. It was completely overwhelming and as I was there for dinner with a group of six, it must have taken us at least 20 minutes to decide on what to get. The restaurant is opulently decorated with white marble, mirrored walls and nice glassware. The service was a bit patchy but also very helpful when one of the members of our party had forgotten her reading glasses. The hostess brought over a pair to borrow, which was very appreciated. With a normal length of menu, you could have just read out the choices, but with so many dishes on offer, reading glasses were needed. All of the food was great. As a vegetarian, I stuck to the salads, pastas and pizzas, but obviously I was still spoiled for choice. Although I enjoyed the meal on the whole, it didn’t feel all that relaxing. I think this was partly due to the fact that there were so many dishes to be brought out and the servers were having to rush around. And also, all of the meat dishes came much later than the rest so the meal felt a bit disjointed.