Cafe Murano Covent Garden

Italian·
££££
·
Bronze Award
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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

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cuisines
Italian
Ambience
Fun, Lively
Food Occasions
Lunch, Sunday roast
Special Features
Counter dining, Dog friendly, Gluten-free options, Vegan options
People
Celebrations, Child friendly, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

About

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.

Menu Highlights

Starters
Salt cod fritters, parmesan & lemon - £10.00
Sea bream crudo, lime, pickled chilli & samphire - £17.00
Main Courses
Chicken Milanese, rocket & parmesan salad - £25.00
Veal ossobuco, wet polenta, parmesan, gremolata - £35.00
Dessert
Tiramisu - £8.50
Vanilla pannacotta, blackberries & honeycomb - £8.00

FAQs

What style of food does Cafe Murano serve?

The menu is filled with Italian food inspired by chef Angela Hartnett's upbringing.

Helpful? 0

How many Cafe Murano branches are there?

There are three Cafe Murano sites, all located in central London.

Helpful? 0

This venue also offers

Cafe Murano Covent Garden
Private Group Dining

Cafe Murano Covent Garden

Cafe Murano Covent Garden
Christmas Parties

Cafe Murano Covent Garden

Location

36 Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 7PB

020 7240 3654 020 7240 3654

Website

Opening Times

Lunch
Mon 12:00-15:00
Tue 12:00-15:00
Wed 12:00-15:00
Thu 12:00-15:00
Fri 12:00-15:00
Sat 12:00-15:00
Sun 12:00-16:30
Dinner
Mon 17:00-22:30
Tue 17:00-22:30
Wed 17:00-22:30
Thu 17:00-22:30
Fri 17:00-22:30
Sat 17:00-22:30
Sun Closed

Reviews

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28 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Lizzie C

16 February 2024   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 1
Service 5
Atmosphere 3
Value 2

My boyfriend and I ate here on Valentines Day, expecting great things as it is very well reviewed. We had the pre-theatre menu, and it was not very nice at all. My starter of mozzarella and pumpkin was fridge-cold and the mozzarella, though plentiful, was very bland and rubbery, and my boyfriend's minestrone and both our mains were luke warm. My sea bream skin was half-crispy, so overall the food was very disappointing. I raised this at the end, however, and the waiter promptly disappeared and returned with all the food charges removed (so we only paid for drinks). This was appreciated and not expected or asked-for, so I can't fault the service for that. Their willingness to remove the charges did make us suspect they knew there was an issue that night, and I am sure someone in particular had gone wrong.

Jon D

25 November 2022   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
Amazing restaurant…..highly recommend

Amazing restaurant, top interior, top service and of course top food.

I will 100% be visiting again! 

 

Hazel M

24 November 2022  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

In this economic climate, the menu prix fixe has to be one of the best value in London. Exceptional. 

Harriet G

02 September 2022   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 4
Service 4
Atmosphere 4
Value 4

Very nice restaurant. Service a little slow to start with but our lovely waitress made up for it afterwards. Food very good and we all enjoyed our lunch

GEORGE K

26 May 2022   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
Good meal

Great service and excellent meal

Booking system not great Had confirmation from them but they had no record of my booking.

sorted out very well at the door

Jessica F

03 February 2020   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 4
Value 4
Pre-Theatre dinner

Me, my mum and stepdad went for a pre-theatre dinner on Friday evening. A beautiful restaurant, seating slightly cramped but not unbearable. The service was outstanding, we were being checked on but not harrassed. Food was absolutely delicious 10/10 to the chef. They even brought us a celebratory drink as it was my mum's birthday. Overall a lovely experience, I will definitley be returning.

Elina H

07 August 2019  
My all around fave - almost my second home. The staff is just incredible, food always top notch and I can literally spend every day there without getting bored.

Ana

09 June 2019  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
Amazing place...

Very well selected meals and wines.

High quality ingredients for a very affordable price!

Not surprised that the restaurant is rated so high.

Excellent night!

Laura C

31 July 2018  
Helpful staff, food was tasty and good value but made to feel like a tourist in my own City. Definitely room for improvement and doesn't live up to expectations.

David H

31 July 2018  
Food & Drink 2
Service 3
Atmosphere 3
Value 3
Sorry- I thought my lunch was poor.
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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