Back in 2013, acclaimed chef Angela Hartnett opened a sister venue to her Michelin-starred restaurant, Murano. Did she know then that its wild success would see her open two more? We’re not sure – but after Café Murano Covent Garden opened in 2015, it has stood the test of time and is a well-known and respected name in central London to this day.
The small, thoughtful menu has been developed by Hartnett and her head chef with a big focus on simple and seasonal ingredients. Hartnett continuously works with the same suppliers, citing the Lake District Farmers and Flying Fish as ongoing sustainable partners of the restaurant. It is, of course, inspired by Hartnett’s heritage which hails from Italy and informs all of her cooking, putting an emphasis on tasty, home-cooked classics. The Covent Garden menu is sectioned up as you would expect, starting with small bites of cicchetti ranging from mushroom arancini and parmesan, chard and chilli bruschetta and giardiniera pickled vegetables. Alternatively, try the range of antipasti which includes sea bream crudo, pepperoncino and sorrel, delica pumpkin and sage fritti and beetroot, dolcelatte, tardive and hazelnuts. Main dishes are either ‘pesce’ or carne’ with a healthy selection of both; think chicken Milanese (a signature of Hartnett’s), grilled monkfish or Duroc pork chop. And, finally, the dessert menu is also suitably Italian with classics such as tiramisu, pear and almond tart and sorbet.
The restaurant’s atmosphere is informal but sophisticated, designed to complement the food which is both high-quality but fuss-free. Dark wood bistro chairs, snug banquettes and a long bar create a European brasserie feel which is suited to a work lunch as much as a glass of wine at the weekend with friends. And, if you should so desire a space that can be privately booked, the first-floor dining room is an intimate area for parties of up to 50 guests.