Slick, Michelin starred Italian restaurant in Mayfair by Angela Hartnett
A long overdue revisit to Murano by Angela Hartnett. Head chef Pip Lacey moved just prior to this visit (to open a solo venture named Hicce) and the new head chef is now Oscar Holgado. It was very good to have this lunch and see the similarities and changes since nearly 7 years ago. The cured meats and olives as amuse bouche and interior are very much the same as is the value for money set lunch option (3 courses for £33). Ultimately, this was a pleasing set menu in a swish, Mayfair restaurant serving simple Italian dishes with good return for the price.
The start of the meal provided coppa ham, onion bread and rosemary bread which was a good opener. The smell from the cured meats hit me before it was on the table and the onion bread was quality (rosemary bread was a bit hard to detect). The olives were simple and explosive in simple quality and resembled extremely good produce. It was also lovely that the butter was so malleable and good to taste and all these painted a good picture to begin.
The charred mackerel and tartare, avocado, coriander and pine nuts was light, tangy and simple. The tartare gave the charred mackerel the added moisture it needed and overall, was a simple and good dish. Next up was the carnaroli risotto, tomato, anchovy and salsa verde. Carnaroli is slightly smaller to regular risotto and as it is more starchy, it is able to retain moisture better than the more common arborio. For all its simplicity, it packed a huge punch and was basically a commanding risotto. Appropriate for the set menu, I doubt others would be able to improve on this very much unless you go to La Calandre in Padua.
Pre-dessert came in the form of elderflower granita, cucumber and mint which was a very pleasant combination – the onslaught of sweet was subdued by the moist, savouryness of the cucumber and was a simple, refreshing mouth cleanser. The main dessert was Amalfi lemon semifreddo, with black sesame, limoncello and cucumber. I found this a wonderful combination of the sesame toast with the semifreddo lemon with a beautifully soft and sweet amalfi lemon. There was a need for the cucumber sauce but, the latter was too great and the lemon was in danger of being under attack by too much cucumber as the overriding flavour which detracted it from being the very good dish it would have been. Cherries then arrived at the table to my surprise, and whilst these were nice to have, some were a little old and had marks on them which, was a shame as it knocked the experience down a peg or two. My own thought is that if simple fruit or produce are being served on their own, they need to be perfect, especially at 1 Michelin starred level, so this was a slight shot in the foot with this.
It was very good to speak with the head chef after the meal and convey the above. Oscar is formerly of the Marcus, Pittcue, Fera and previously Murano as well in his early days as a pleasant return. The slick restaurant that it is was comforting and the service throughout was very good. Most of the stiffen the floor are actually from Italy as a bonus for a more authentic feel, and ultimately I walked away from here in to the street of glorious Mayfair with the thoughts of barring one or two minor detractions, as a ‘thumbs up’ meal.
Food Grade: 79%
A very stylish place by Angela Hartnett in a swish area of town. The meats at the beginning were clearly high in quality and the whole meal was a simple pleasure. It does not stand out in the top bracket of 1 Michelin starred restaurants for me but was certainly nice to experience. A lack of wow factors in the food has cooled any urge to go running back but if you are looking for somewhere as a definite, safe bet then this will be absolutely fine. Well suited for couples in the evening and business lunches during the day.
Food Grade: 73%
Location (Click google logo for directions)