Cafe Murano St James's
Cafe Murano St James's
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SquareMeal Review of Cafe Murano St James's

Silver Award

There 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
Cuisines
Italian
Ambience
Cosy, Fun, Quiet conversation
People
Group dining [8+]

Location for Cafe Murano St James's

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

020 3371 5559

Website

Opening Times

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

Reviews of Cafe Murano St James's

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15 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Elaine M

Terrible Service
07 July 2016  
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!!
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Mary S

phantom reservation
03 December 2015  
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!
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Mr. Timothy P

Lively, efficient place
29 July 2015  
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.
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Ms/Mrs. Frank C

Ghosts of Petrus Linger
14 May 2015  
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,
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Piglet

Buzzy Italian
13 April 2015  
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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Ms/Mrs. Natalia P

cafe murano
22 December 2014  
The food - I recommend the starters more than the mains to be honest. My wood pigeon was very tasty, pork tonnato was equally good and octopus was soft and tasty again. The mains did not go so well - special tuna spaghetti tasted of fsh a bit too much, monkfish tasted a bit undercooked, but venison was fine ... so maybe just order meats from the menu. Desserts were very good again. Service was good .... up to a point. What spoiled the evening is the fact that we barely finished desserts when the waiter turned up at our table and pretty much told us to clear the table because the diners who booked the table for the next dining slot were here. Needless to say that we were not impressed. The manager came round and tried to explain the time limit on the table but the damage was done. It did not make me feel like a valued customer, how not do customer customer.
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Nigel H

Exciting place; dull food
16 December 2014  
The place has a great atmosphere, the service is excellent and we had a lovely time. Charming staff and helpful guidance on the wine. The only disappointment was the food which was rather bland - the crab linguine didn't really taste of much at all, and the penne carbonara tasted mainly of black pepper. The chocolate cake was likewise rather dry and uninteresting. The melt-in-the-mouth lemon tart was outstanding though. A buzzy destination restaurant so perhaps we shouldn't have been surprised that the food was rather secondary. My wife tells me the name spell-checks as café mundane, which she felt was appropriate.
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LYNNE R

09 August 2014  
Booked a table for 5.30 as we wanted time to enjoy our meal before going to a theatre some distance away. Clearly a mistake as the kitchen seemed unprepared but not willing to admit it! Everything was rushed at the beginning – our starters were served very quickly after we ordered and only just after our pre dinner drinks had arrived, yet the bread to go with them, admittedly fresh from the oven, came virtually as we finished eating them. Our main courses then arrived equally speedily, at 6. My main course looked beautiful, lamb polpette in a lovely tomato sauce, but when I cut into the first meatball it was very underdone inside so I queried it with the waitress, who assured me that they were meant to be served pink. I made the mistake of accepting that at face value, as I like my lamb pink, and the second meatball was edible at least. The third however, larger than the other two, was raw virtually all the way through so I gave up at that point. When the plates were collected I told the waitress that they had been too underdone for me and she said she would tell the chef. She reappeared to say the chef said it was as they did it but to have an ice cream! So if you want the equivalent of a blue meatball eat here! My point is if a restaurant is going to serve its meatballs this underdone they should tell you so – they would for any other cut wouldn't they? And there is a difference between pink and blue! In fairness my husband thought his sea bream carpaccio excellent but it will not be enough to encourage us to go back!
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Nevine H

05 July 2014  
Buzzy, noisy, great northern italian food. Took my 16yr old son who loves Italian and appreciates all cuisine especially pasta! We ordered to share – frito misto (not greasy, delicous though would have preferred more prawns or calamari), truffle arancini (divine), warm octopus with chick peas (beautiful), squid ink crab taglioni (my favourite) and the gnocchi which i ordered to see if any better than my husband's who did a cooking lesson with Angela Hartnett. Jury is out. The gnocchi was excellent but way too much butter! If you are in the area and like the menu – go. Not necessary to spend a fortune and eat well which i really appreciated as we only wanted a light lunch.
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Ms/Mrs. Pencil L

01 July 2014  
This is only my second visit but my dining experience was excellent. Very courteous staff and not pushy. I went with some girlfriends and enjoyed their meal too. I had the Fritto Misto which was slightly greasy but still tasted good. The pasta was cooked to perfection – al dente – just how I like it. The restaurant was full and buzzing.
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