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33 St James’s Street
020 3371 5559
There are many diners who prefer Angela Hartnett’s dressed-down Café to her swanky Michelin-starred Murano, and it’s easy to be seduced by its low-it appeal. The long dining room feels tailor-made for rendezvous, whether gregarious business lunches on a round table at the front, something cosy à deux towards the back – or even just a solo meal at the bar, nibbling on some truffle arancini with a Negroni while deciding what to order. Pasta is the undisputed highlight, with highly appealing arrangements such as tagliolini with broad bean pesto and ricotta salata or spaghetti with chilli, garlic and bottarga all the better for being so simple. Elsewhere, the kitchen’s attachment to carefully chosen produce might yield such clean-tasting delights as lamb topside with goats’ curd, courgette and girolles, though Hartnett can also do classy classics too – think vitello tonnato or pappardelle with venison ragù. Some feel that portions are small given the prices, but there’s generosity aplenty in the welcoming nature of the friendly staff.
StreetSmart - London restaurants
Best in St James's
London's Hot 100 Restaurants
Best Italian restaurants in London
Pre and post-theatre dining
SquareMeal 2 Stars
33 St James’s Street
020 3371 5559
Green Park Tube Station 248m
Piccadilly Circus Tube Station 514m
Fortnum & Mason 152m
Mon-Sat 12N-3pm 5.30-11pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
Booked for pre-theatre meal and informed staff when arrived (6pm) that we had to leave by 7. Starter took 15 mins to arrive, (lovely though) no sign of main by 6.50. Informed staff that we had to leave and told that main course would be with us at 6.55, which was no good for us! We left hungry!! Not what we expected … perhaps if you have all evening!!
Food + drink: 5
This was my first meal at Cafe Murano and I adored it. The food was delectable, the ambience lovely, the table service impeccable. I just had one 'reservation' and that's that they couldn't find my reservation although they'd left me a voicemail message the day before confirming it. I found this very uncomfortable and annoying. They asked if I'd brought my email confirmation which I hadn't bothered to do since I'd received their phone confirmation (and offered to play it back to them!) Then they said it was because my guest had already arrived so I proceeded in but couldn't find my guest. My guest was no-where to be seen so they then said perhaps she had gone to the loo - or, illogically, - hadn't yet arrived. The upshot was the table was ready and waiting, my guest had not yet arrived, so what was the issue? It was a very off-putting start and there was a bank of people waiting behind me. After that everything was perfect but I would very much have appreciated an explanation!
Food + drink: 3
Cafe Murano occupies culinary hollowed ground. This is where Petrus used to be and some of its aura remains. Petrus was followed by the delightful Brasserie St. Jacques and it is now Cafe Murano.
Cafe Murano has an excellent prix fixe menu that is as delicious as it is generous in its portions and altruistic in its price. The menu is inspired by that happy hybrid of France and Italy that is Northern Italian and it has the friendliness and professionalism that is the hallmark of that region. I have eaten both from the lunch menu as well as a la carte and I have yet to have a single dish that is not absolutely splendid. Every dish combines excellent raw materials and inspired cooking.
Cafe Murano is busy. Very busy. Nevertheless, one can have an intimate business conversation and the service is outstanding. During my last visit, my guest said that she needed to be back in the office for a key meeting in ninety minutes. We mentioned this to the waitress, and were paying the bill within 45 minutes after a relaxed lunch. Whoever is behind this outstanding organisation of kitchen with client facing staff deserves an award. I cannot think of a better place in St. James's for a business lunch when time is tight but one does not want to feel stressed. Very well done, and I highly recommend Cafe Murano for those with busy lives who also want to smell the roses,
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