16 December 2011
First time dining at Murano, we went for my mum's birthday. We went early evening and got off to a slightly unfortunate start when sat next to a table of well refreshed hedge fund managers who'd been out celebrating their work Christmas lunch, and probably spending part of a bonus that is around 10 times as much as my annual earnings! They were fortunately packed off shortly afterwards reducing the noise level by about 80%.
The first thing that strikes you about Murano, other than the hedgies noise, is that it’s grown up – I’m nearly 40 and for most of the evening I was the youngest customer there. It’s also a stunningly dull room – everything is beige and the combination of subdued lighting and slightly too warm heating wasn't conducive to a great atmosphere. All of which makes it sound like I hated it; but I certainly didn't.
Service is generally lovely, polite and effective – though they did seem to have a few initial problems with the drinks order and the bill took one request and one Paddington Bear style hard stare to make appear, but other than that it all worked as you'd hope, so perhaps they've sorted out the gripe lots of other reviews on this site seem to have had.
Food was wonderful, though given the chefs name, the Michelin star and the cost (circa £110 per head for 3 courses, water, wine and a drink before starting) perhaps you've got a right to expect something special, though there are other venues with similar qualities that fail to deliver.
I started with pumpkin tortelli, sage butter and crushed amaretti; pasta is frequently, unless you're eating it in Italy, heavy going, but this was light and delicate, warm autumn flavours. This was followed by halibut, bread purée, pear compote, white onion fondue and scallop velouté – the fish was wonderfully firm, cooked to perfection and the range of accompaniments gave everything a warm sweet twist, the only slight oddity being the white onion, which could easily have been omitted without spoiling anything. To finish chocolate ganache, chestnut parfait, artichoke sorbet and mint – I admit I was jealous when others soufflé with caramel and fresh mint chantilly arrived but then I tasted the chestnut parfait and, if I weren't an atheist, I would have believed I'd discovered heaven.
I enjoyed Murano, great food, good service and value for money is reasonable, though the atmosphere needs something different. I'm not sure it would be ideal for a date, but for your mum's birthday it's great and I'd happily recommend it; though, given I paid the bill, it might be a once a year treat!