Restaurant Of The Week: Cafe Murano

Words by
Sophie Stoneham

24th August 2022

For a pre-theatre meal or a full blown feast in Covent Garden, Cafe Murano remains the best possible introduction to the cooking of Angela Hartnett.

Café Murano in the heart of Covent Garden like its St James’ and Bermondsey siblings is a relaxed Italian neighbourhood restaurant serving fresh seasonal specialities. It showcases Angela Hartnett’s modern Italian cooking in a more low-key setting than her Michelin-starred Murano in Mayfair. It is a great spot for lunch and dinner and also offers a very well priced (£28 for 3 courses) lunch and pre-show early dinner menu option if you happen to be heading to the neighbouring Royal Opera House afterwards.

SPHERE was lucky to pop in for lunch on a warm weekday in August and the place was absolutely heaving. The daily is menu is focused on seasonality and so many mouth-watering options: delicious aubergine caponata with pine nuts and a simple melt in the middle burrata with tomato, basil and olive oil were followed by the perfect gnocchi with lamb ragù, mint, lemon and green olives and the highly recommended succulent Cornish plaice with spinach and capers. Another visit will need to be scheduled to try the Duroc pork chop with anchovy butter, lemon and sage or the classic chicken Milanese as well as more pasta specialities like the tortelli with homemade ricotta and marjoram butter or rigatoni with spicy sausage ragù... 

Serena, the charming Neapolitan assistant manager recommended the Angela Hartnett IGT Bianco 2020 from Tuscany with the plaice (30% Vermentino 70% San Giovese) which was crisp and fresh and its sibling Angela Hartnett IGT Rosato 2021 to combine with the gnocchi which was suitably pale. She also told us that the olive oil was made from the same soil as the vineyards that Angela is really involved in, making sure all produce is top quality. The impossible to resist tiramisù was ordered (with two spoons) with a double macchiato each to avoid the post lunch digestive slump.

The Café Murano trio is there to stay - Café Murano in Bermondsey is the latest outpost and has a wonderful secret terrace apparently so SPHERE will have to head there in the future. Book without hestitation.