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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 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.