Cafe Murano St James's

Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of Cafe Murano St James's

Silver Award

SquareMeal London Hot 100 2018There 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.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cosy, Fun, Quiet conversation
Group dining [8+]

Cafe Murano St James's is featured in

Location for Cafe Murano St James's

33 St James’s Street, St. James's, London, SW1A 1HD

020 3371 5559


Opening Times

Mon-Sat 12N-3pm 5.30-11pm

Reviews of Cafe Murano St James's

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20 Reviews 

John A M

01 September 2021   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 3.5
Service 5
Atmosphere 3.5
Value 4.5
Perfectly cooked but somewhat disappointing

The previous evening's dinner at Hide Above set a very high bar, and we knew that we were going to the Café, not the actual starred Hartnett restaurant (due to scheduling issues.) But while the service was, for the most part spot-on and the food was, for the most part, perfectly (if not inspiringly) cooked, the overall effect was less than memorable.  We started with a shared order of four small arrancini which were pleasantly light, but lacking in flavor ... a bit of sauce would have been most welcome.  The star of the evening was an order of cloudlike gnocchi in a fresh San Marzanno sauce.  My husband enjoyed an opening salad of courgette with (too)-large leaves of radicchio, basil sprigs and olives.  His main course of halibut was good, with an excellent cauliflower mash while mine was a perfectly cooked chicken breast Milanese that again could have used some sauce to enhance the flavor and add a bit of moisture to the meltingly tender meat.  Sides were adequate new potatoes and a salad of green tomatoes.  The dessert of tiramisu was too large, too "cakey" for our taste, and generally a disappointment.  A good English vodka (who would have thought it?) accompanied the mean, and a split of sparkling Moscato finished off the evening.


All in all, no major gaffes, but no star turns either.


Amanda P

26 July 2019  
Has a real neighbourhood feel and you never feel out of place either casual or smart. Welcoming staff who remember you, lovely cocktails and great food made with quality ingredients and probably love.


27 June 2018  
Excellent value , delicious food.

Jennifer L

24 April 2018  
Ambience is great and food taste excellent.

Joanne B

21 March 2018  
Food is excellent. Fine dining very good service and drinks. Expensive.

Elaine M

07 July 2016  
Food & Drink 4
Service 0.5
Atmosphere 4
Value 3
Terrible Service
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!!

Mary S

03 December 2015  
Food & Drink 5
Service 3.5
Atmosphere 5
Value 3.5
phantom reservation
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!

Timothy P

29 July 2015  
Food & Drink 3.5
Service 4
Atmosphere 3.5
Value 3
Lively, efficient place
We were fitted in as a group of 6 to the round table in a booth right at the back; as a result, with a busy restaurant at 8.30pm, it was very noisy and the conversation reverberated in the rather cramped space. Anyway, as noted elsewhere the arancini and other starters were excellent - fritto misto in particular. The pasta mains were well done - tagliolini with rabbit and gnocchi with lanza (like pancetta apparently), though they could have done with a little more spicing; I had asked for extra chili in the gnocchi but it wasn't detectable. Other mains were sea trout fillet (looked good) and lamb (rather paltry and dry). Prices were West End typical. Service was prompt and the food was served hot.

Frank C

14 May 2015  
Food & Drink 3.5
Service 5
Atmosphere 3.5
Value 4.5
Ghosts of Petrus Linger
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,


13 April 2015  
Food & Drink 4
Service 4
Atmosphere 4
Value 4
Buzzy Italian
I've eaten here a few times, and always left happy. Last time the whole table had truffle arancini and fritto misto followed by a delicious venison ragu tagliatelle. Service is smooth and the cooking consistent and accomplished and the focaccia is dangerously good. It has always been packed, with lots of noise, ages ranging from baby to octogenarian, just as a great Italian restaurant should be in my opinion.
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