Cafe Murano Covent Garden

Bronze Award
14 Reviews
££££
Italian

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SquareMeal Review of Cafe Murano Covent Garden

Bronze Award

Like its St James’s sibling, this second branch of Café Murano showcases Angela Hartnett's modern Italian cooking in a more casual setting than her Michelin-starred Murano. Spread over two floors, it's a convivial spot for business or dates, though we prefer dining with a group of friends and sharing a selection of characterful regional dishes. The daily menu is fiercely seasonal and allows good ingredients to prove their worth, often in simple, yet effective combinations: a salad of octopus, borlotti beans, olives and preserved lemon, for example, might be followed by rich pork cheeks with creamy white bean purée and chicory. Pasta is a particular delight, either sampled in dishes such as spicy bucatini amatriciana or bought from the ‘pastificio’ next door to take home – along with a bottle of hearty Italian red, of course. "It's hard not to stop for lunch each day I walk past", confides one local. Decent Italian-themed cocktails are another plus, and service is “always with a smile”.

Good to know about Cafe Murano Covent Garden

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cuisines
Italian
Ambience
Buzzy, Fun
Special Features
Counter dining

Cafe Murano Covent Garden Also Offers

Cafe Murano Covent Garden
Private Group Dining

Location for Cafe Murano Covent Garden

36 Tavistock Street, London, WC2E 7PB

020 7240 3654

Website

Opening Times of Cafe Murano Covent Garden

Mon-Sat 12N-11pm Sun 11.30am-4pm

Reviews of Cafe Murano Covent Garden

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14 Reviews
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

David H

Sorry- I thought my lunch was poor.
31 July 2018
I like Angela Hartnett's cooking a lot, and I simply can't imagine leaving Murano feeling anything but positively about the food and service. And speaking as I find, I have largely felt similarly about Limewood in Hampshire since she became involved. But I'm incredibly confused about how I'm supposed to respond to this restaurant. It seems to share nothing with Murano at all. It's not "Murano lite" it's "Murano worse" or perhaps more accurately its not Murano at all. There's not a shred of what you get at Murano that's visible here. There is quite simply no credible attempt to translate the values of the parent restaurant to this place. So why call it Murano at all? There are no common values- none. And what satisfaction can Ms Hartnett get from lending her carefully built brand name to a restaurant that is , from what I can see, totally mediocre. I can promise you that if I'd happened to visit Cafe Murano first I wouldn't even think of eating at the parent - I would simply find it hard to accept that any restaurant sharing a name with this one would be likely to deliver quality gourmet cooking. Unlike at Limewood, I can't see anything in this place that is better because it has a star chef associated with it. I visited on a reasonably busy lunchtime with two old friends and fortunately the emphasis was on conversation not food. I chose two courses from a set lunch menu. A kind of quiche with a few salad leaves, and a pasta main that involved sardines and breadcrumbs and , apparently, fennel. Both of these dishes were just about palatable , the pasta very dry , they both had virtually no flavour. Frankly I've eaten better food on planes, in economy. It wasn't expensive , the service was OK, and the premises, whilst not smart, were about what you'd expect given the menu. However the kitchen contrived to deliver a product that has convinced me not under any circumstances to return. This is not the first time I've eaten at a mid-market restaurant under the auspices of a chef of some fame and great skill, and emerged unimpressed. I recall eating at Tredwell's, being similarly disappointed , and haven't eaten at any Marcus Wareing restaurant since- I guess they've become devalued in my eyes because of a decision to link themselves to, and profit from, mediocrity.
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Ms/Mrs. anne R

Excellent for Pre theatre
28 March 2018
Lovely place and excellent, friendly and attentive service. The pre theatre menu is good value and the food was of a good quality and very tasty. The starters arrived promptly, but there was slightly too long a wait for the main course, which meant we were slightly rushed for the theatre, but timings are the only complaint. I recommend this for food and service.
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Anon

Cafe Murano, St James's, London
22 August 2017
Cafe Murano is pretty unassuming on the outside.   On the inside, a marble bar dominates the length of the dining room, handy for that quick bowl of lunchtime pasta and a cheeky glass of something.   I loved that the tables had a decent amount of space between them and for a school night there was a nice buzz about the place. It didn't take long before we'd sat down and had ordered a Menabrea beer and the Aperitivo Of The Day 'Tramonto di Luglio' (Myers Rum, Maraschino, Apricot, Sweet & Sour, Lavender bitters). The menu was about to change, but I'm thankful for the selection on offer. The waiting staff were attentive and offered up help when needed, but weren't overbearing in the slightest. We had to have the Angela Hartnett signature arancini (£4.50) (did I mention it's her restaurant?) tightly packed risotto rice infused with truffle oil, rolled into balls and breadcrumbs then deep-fried to the perfect crispness. Salumi with the crispiest Carta di Musica was a good place to start (£12), lots of flavourful meat but the clear winner was the Finocchio or fennel-studded salami. A well-risen, pillow-soft Rosemary focaccia came with a small saucer (more's the pity) of Planeta olive oil. We made relatively light work of the plates and moved to the Antipasti.  A good-sized portion of octopus, potato and caper leaves lasted no longer than the click of the iPhone (£10.50).  Salted and chopped tentacles worked well with the creamy salad potatoes and pickled caper leaves. The Tagliatelle Amatriciana with grated pecorino was a well-chosen classic (£10.50/£17.00) and didn't disappoint. Lovely ribbons of fresh-egg pasta were tossed in a fresh tomato sauce with a generous grated topping of sharp and salty Pecorino. Mr opted for the Spaghettini, anchovies and pangrattato (£10.00/£16.50).  Again no surprise that the supplier of fresh pasta to Fortnum's around the corner is pretty good at making a good pasta. Being a huge fan of anchovies, he lapped up the dish of flavours, which was crowned with a breadcrumb and chilli crumb. I thought I was full by this time and then spotted the courgette fritti (£3.75) I managed to work my way through a bowl of deep-fried, batter coated chips of courgette.  Amazing. Mr ploughed on to the Secondi.  Beef rump, stracchino, San Marzano and basil (£21.00).  What a joy to taste this plump Italian tomato, grown at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, sweet, dark red with the richness of the beef, which cut like butter, draped with creamy stracchino cheese.  A perfect plate of food. In fairness I was full but the salted caramel baked chocolate panna cotta was winking, heavily.   This was the only dish which left me slightly disappointed.  Sure it was creamy, and a nice set but the depth of flavour just wasn't there, even drizzled with a salted caramel sauce.  That said, I ate the whole thing, so it wasn't that bad. Lastly, the team at Cafe Murano saw it was my Birthday on my booking.  I love a Happy Birthday plate and they didn't disappoint. What a lovely evening.  Shame it was a school night.  I know we would have stretched it out and will return, without question.
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Anon

Dinner with Friends
06 May 2017
Booked the restaurant based on the reputation of Angela Hartnett. We also wanted somewhere relaxed and friendly and not overly formal. We were not disappointed. We were warmly welcomed, offered drinks and water and given menus and the days specials. The Italian themed menu had plenty of choice to suit all tastes. It was accompanied by a good wine list which included good value regional Italian wines. All the food was well cooked and presented and with great flavours. The highlights were the asparagus with ricotta and the salt cod starters and the crab linguini special and the fresh tuna mains. The only negative was the affogato dessert. My wife is a devotee of this and said that she has had a lot better in other places so was somewhat disappointed as everything else had been spot on.
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Ms/Mrs. Rebecca L

Fabulous Italian cooking in theatreland!
26 April 2017
Café Murano's near Covent Garden is a superb choice for any occasion but particularly for pre-theatre dinner, given that it's surrounded by bland chains. I loved the dimly lit, warming interiors and relaxed feel inside: a really remedy to this part of London! I was seriously impressed with the food on offer here and it's really well priced too. I opted for an appetizer of truffled arancini which was quite honestly heaven on a plate and probably the best arancini I've ever tasted. For main I went for a deliciously deep and rich sausage ragu made with Treviso and hazelnut. The cooking is authentic and hearty, whilst still managing to feel refined. I can't praise it enough. The wine list is also well priced and well thought out. Staff are friendly and keep the service well paced but quick to bring our bill when we mentioned we were off to see a show. Highly recommended!
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Ms/Mrs. anne R

Recommend for pre-theatre
25 March 2017
Pre theatre menu is very good value. Service was friendly, relaxed and efficient. Food was very good - lovely Hake, Pasta and starters. Recommended.
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Anon

Finely balanced ingredients, flavours and textures
23 February 2017
This was our first visit to the restaurant, booked for 17.00 as we were going to an LSE talk at 18.30. There was enough of interest on the pre-theatre menu for us to choose that. We enjoyed all three courses and a good bottle of Sicilian white wine (Grillo Uriel). The dipping oil for the rosemary foccacia bread had an enjoyable peppery zing and depth of flavour, putting our taste buds on the alert. For the first course, the velvety bean soup was set off nicely by the crispness of the accompanying crostini. Contrasting textures were also seen in the sardine bruscetta with tiny sultanas red onion and a green leaf making for a novel and successful combination of flavours. One main course was my wife's hake on a bed of roast aubergine - again a combination that worked well for someone who likes her fish, as this was, tasty and moist. My chicken cacciatore had a rich sauce which the orzo pasta soaked up perfectly. We were both struck by how accurately the cavalla nero had been cooked, maximising the depth of flavour with no hint of the toughness it sometimes has when I cook it 'al dente'. Our waiter explained "semi freddo" in terms that appealed to us both but I decided for variety to have the cinnamon cake - delicate with a light texture. The restaurant had few others when we arrived, but by the time we left it was busy but not noisy. We exchanged comments with the table next to us. All of us hope to come back to explore the a la carte menu. A meal to match our mood on St Valentine's Day!
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Anon

A plesent dining experience
27 September 2016
Although it was a Monday afternoon and the restaurant was fairly quiet the service was excellent. The food was very good and reasonably priced We enjoyed a very nice bottle of red wine recommended by the waiter. A experience we would not hesitate to repeat & recommend to our friends.
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Mr. Brian S

Dreadful Experience
03 August 2016
I have used this restaurant on a number of occasions with good results but this evening was a disaster. We arrived to see that my reservation was clearly in their system but there was no table for us. The same thing happened to a number of others arriving at the same time. Eventually a table was found and we placed our order. The wine and our starters arrived followed by a long gap - they knew we had a time constraint. Follow up with the waitress and the manager produced the usual its coming response. 5 minutes before the time they knew we had to leave by I again asked where our main courses were. The manger descended to the kitchen returning with the "its coming" response. I said that there was no time to eat it anyway and we should have the bill. I asked what the problem was - was it in the kitchen - no. All I got was apologies but no explanation. I then waited for the bill - it did not come. I approached the manager again. He said we would not be charged - the right answer. I asked why he had not told me this. No explanation but another apology. There was clearly a management problem that evening. And probably a manager problem as well.
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Kelly V

Lovely lunch
21 June 2016
It's not often when I see a menu and have difficulty narrowing my choice to one or two things. I'm a vegetarian who also eats fish and seafood, and even now days a lot of menus are very orientated toward carnivores. Not so Café Murano. There were so many options that I had a very difficult time choosing just one starter and one main. Also, the menu offers the choice of starter or main-size portions for many of the dishes, which adds to the choice but makes it even more difficult to choose! Attentive but not intrusive service, exquisite ingredients and exceptional execution made for a very memorable meal.
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