This is the second Cafe Murano from Angela Hartnett (who also owns Michelin-starred Murano, Merchants Tavern and Hartnett Holder & Co in Lime Wood) and it’s based in tourist trap Covent Garden – an area fast becoming a right foodie hot spot.
We were seated in the first of two dining rooms, right by the door which was an unappealing place to sit to say the least; the dark wood panelled space out the back looks gorgeous. We did at least move to the bar in the middle which was far nicer and great for people watching.
We started with vitello tonnato (£9), which saw thin sheets of exquisite veal atop a potent tuna sauce; a classic Italian dish and one which was absolutely divine. A side of foccacia filled with sweet plum tomatoes would have only been bettered by a generous turn of a salt mill.
Pastas are the star of the show here, all of which are made fresh in the kitchen. Gnocchi, robiola, rosemary and black olive (£13.50 for a large portion) was a hearty plate of food. Tagliatelle bolognese (£16 for a large portion) was decanted from a metal pot which was quite sweet. The flavour of the sauce, the light pasta, the richness of the mince; it was pure heaven.
For main, we shared the roasted pigeon (£19) which the kitchen kindly split into two portions for us. The pigeon flesh was a blushing bright pink and the skin crisp and well seasoned – I wanted to pick up the bones and nibble every last bit of meat. A side of crispy potatoes (£3.75), or patate fritte, were every bit moreish.
We had tried the tiramisu in the St James’s Cafe Murano (which was brilliant) so we opted for the muscavado tart (£7). I could have done with a larger dollop of crème fraîche but the tart itself had an impressive wobble and the filling was insanely light.
I really enjoyed Cafe Murano Covent Garden. As long as you don’t sit in that entrance it’s a beautiful restaurant and the impeccably dressed staff add to the beauty. The pasta is quite special and you really shouldn’t miss out on it. If you want to take some home, they’re opening a pasta shop, sorry a pastifigio, next door too. Result.