Little sister to Michelin star Murano down the road, Cafe Murano bears all the hallmarks of an Angela Hartnett outfit. Firstly, there’s the authentic Italian menu packed full of flavoursome, perfectly balanced dishes. Then there’s the stylish, oh-so-elegant décor; the upbeat, unpretentious ambiance; the wonderful array of fine Italian wine; and finally, the faultless and utterly delightful service. Front of house is run by Zoe Charlton-Brown – a fantastic host who can pair each and every item on the menu with the perfect vintage, while the kitchen is helmed by Head Chef Sam Williams – the woman responsible for the incredibly moreish, top quality food.
Expect full-bodied flavour at Cafe Murano, with truffle arancini, feather-light fritto misto and other cicheti (Italian-style tapas) simply the prelude to an array of Northern Italian delights. Duck breast with chicory, orange and pistachio is served beautifully pink and pretty as a picture, while the lamb neck fillet with Tropea onion and aubergine falls apart on the fork and into a complex and wonderfully smooth sauce. Desserts feature all the usual Italian favourites (Tiramisu, Affogato etc…) but with a slight modernist twist; the vanilla cheesecake arrives in deconstructed form and strewn with stewed plums, not overly sweet and somehow easy to eat, even after the many dishes that preceded it.
The restaurant opens early and closes late in order to provide theatregoers with an affordable pre-/post-show set menu, but even if you opt for a long and leisurely dinner a la carte, the late service ensures a fantastic atmosphere well after most restaurants have started clearing away the cutlery. Besides, it gives you a little more time to enjoy one more barrel-aged Negroni before reluctantly heading home.