[London, W1] Murano

There seems to be something of a corporate elegance to Mayfair restaurants. Murano reminded us of Hibiscus, with it muted palette. But there’s comfy seats and a front of house team at the top of their game. And an interesting menu setup which puts a spin on the classic Italian multi-course offering. It’s divided into five sections of savoury items plus dessert and you’re invited to order from any, or all, and have them served in the order you choose. We found that a really fun way of doing things.

But, before we got stuck in, there was an array of nibbles to be dealt with. Excellent bread and Parmesan grissini, of course. Truffle arancini were, in themselves, a real “wow”. A blob of chicken liver parfait on a cocktail stick was as good it gets. And then a few thin slices of tasty coppa, together with perfectly ripe melon.

We skipped ordering from what I suppose might be regarded as a starter section and ordered our first two courses from the next two sections – pasta and vegetables. There was parsley cavatelli – an object lesson in how to cook pasta “al dente”. It came with king prawns, carrot and the warmth of ginger, all in a beurre blanc. Absolutely fantastic. Equally as good were tortellini, stuffed with rabbit leg and sitting on a little spinach. Thin curls of raw courgette decorated one of the next plates, there’s a scattering of warm pea fritters, a dab here and there of goats cheese and pea cream and a scattering of fresh peas. Really delicious and bang-on for seasonality. Across the table, there’s a panzanella salad, using some of that lovely bread and a soft burrata.

There was, I suppose, a more traditional feel to the fish course. One of us went for John Dory, served with softened heritage tomatoes, and artichoke puree and a couple of bits of new potato. Monkfish was served with heritage cauliflower, one piece almost black, with the bitterness of grilled radicchio softened by raisins and salted by the inclusion of a little guanciale.

Rack of lamb was perfectly cooked, if a little overly fatty. There’s sweetbreads and grilled courgette and some dabs of ricotta helping to form a sauce. Belly pork had perfectly crisp skin and, here, the fattiness was welcomed. There’s a warm tomato salsa and a puree of black olives (a proper puree, not a tapenade) and some braised leaves of Little Gem. Good endings to the savoury courses.

Pre-dessert was a pomegranate sorbet, topped with yoghurt. It divided us – but then one of us isn’t a great fan of yoghurt.

For dessert itself, we looked no further than the Amalfi lemon tart which is, we understand, a signature dish of the restaurant. You can understand why. There’s thin, crisp pastry and an intense lemon filling. Nothing else adorns the plate. Nothing else is needed. This is fantastic – very probably the best citrus dessert we’ve eaten.

We have coffee, of course. It comes with petit fours – an intense (yep, it’s that word again) passion fruit jelly and a tiny lemon cream canolo.

It’s been a fab evening even though booze cranked up the final bill quite considerably.

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Good to have you back H.

Murano is one of the places I’ve meant to go but somehow never got round to it. I think the Mayfair corporate thing put me off. The way they let you order sounds really good and makes it seem much more relaxed than I imagined. Makes a nice change from the small plate places that will bring you the dishes when they see fit and in no particular order.

The tortellini and belly pork sound right up my street. Also lemon tart is perhaps my favourite dessert and the one you had sounds very good indeed.

Chris - you can’t get away from the fact there is formality. But the staff are appropriately smiley and want you to have a good time. Several tables were occupied by men in suits but later in the evening a couple came in, with baby in trolley. Both dressed very casually, him in shorts. They were not Brits of course :slight_smile: . Staff didnt bat an eyelid in seating and serving them.

You’ve whetted my appetite to finally get there soon, John. Thanks for the review.

Harters, thank you for the review. The missus and I are likely to be in London later this year and despite much dining over the years, Italian cuisine seems to have eluded us. Any thoughts on how Murano compares to say Locanda Locatelli?[quote=“Harters, post:1, topic:6764, full:true”]
There seems to be something of a corporate elegance to Mayfair restaurants. Murano reminded us of Hibiscus, with it muted palette. But there’s comfy seats and a front of house team at the top of their game. And an interesting menu setup which puts a spin on the classic Italian multi-course offering. It’s divided into five sections of savoury items plus dessert and you’re invited to order from any, or all, and have them served in the order you choose. We found that a really fun way of doing things.

But, before we got stuck in, there was an array of nibbles to be dealt with. Excellent bread and Parmesan grissini, of course. Truffle arancini were, in themselves, a real “wow”. A blob of chicken liver parfait on a cocktail stick was as good it gets. And then a few thin slices of tasty coppa, together with perfectly ripe melon.

We skipped ordering from what I suppose might be regarded as a starter section and ordered our first two courses from the next two sections – pasta and vegetables. There was parsley cavatelli – an object lesson in how to cook pasta “al dente”. It came with king prawns, carrot and the warmth of ginger, all in a beurre blanc. Absolutely fantastic. Equally as good were tortellini, stuffed with rabbit leg and sitting on a little spinach. Thin curls of raw courgette decorated one of the next plates, there’s a scattering of warm pea fritters, a dab here and there of goats cheese and pea cream and a scattering of fresh peas. Really delicious and bang-on for seasonality. Across the table, there’s a panzanella salad, using some of that lovely bread and a soft burrata.

There was, I suppose, a more traditional feel to the fish course. One of us went for John Dory, served with softened heritage tomatoes, and artichoke puree and a couple of bits of new potato. Monkfish was served with heritage cauliflower, one piece almost black, with the bitterness of grilled radicchio softened by raisins and salted by the inclusion of a little guanciale.

Rack of lamb was perfectly cooked, if a little overly fatty. There’s sweetbreads and grilled courgette and some dabs of ricotta helping to form a sauce. Belly pork had perfectly crisp skin and, here, the fattiness was welcomed. There’s a warm tomato salsa and a puree of black olives (a proper puree, not a tapenade) and some braised leaves of Little Gem. Good endings to the savoury courses.

Pre-dessert was a pomegranate sorbet, topped with yoghurt. It divided us – but then one of us isn’t a great fan of yoghurt.

For dessert itself, we looked no further than the Amalfi lemon tart which is, we understand, a signature dish of the restaurant. You can understand why. There’s thin, crisp pastry and an intense lemon filling. Nothing else adorns the plate. Nothing else is needed. This is fantastic – very probably the best citrus dessert we’ve eaten.

We have coffee, of course. It comes with petit fours – an intense (yep, it’s that word again) passion fruit jelly and a tiny lemon cream canolo.

It’s been a fab evening even though booze cranked up the final bill quite considerably.
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It was 2008 when we ate at Locatelli. It had taken, literally, two or three years to make a reservation - that was trying to marry their availablity with our ability to at least stay overnight in the capital. And then it proved to be a very disappointing experience. I mean, very disappointing, particularly when you’ve waited a couple of years.

Didnt like the room - I think “hotel corporate” is the style. They then squeeze you in - one of those places so tightly packed that the table has to be moved out to let you get to a seat. Then there was the service which was of the style of “we are doing you a favour letting you eat here”. My notes remind me that the first knowledge we had of there being any specials was when they were recounted to the next table, some time after we’d ordered. By now, it is fair to say that we felt our fairly expensive trip to London had been fucked over by Locatellis.

As to the food, yeah, it was OK but nowhere near as good as it probably thinks it is. And some sloppy work going on there. I had a pork fillet main, which came wrapped in Palma ham - still with the string on that secured it. Now, for a 1star place that is so fucking poor, that I struggle to find the right words for it. And then there was my chocolate dessert. Which just wasnt very well made and which I didnt realise until I had all but finished it, that they’d served me the wrong chocolate dessert (both a bit similar which is why I hadnt spotted it, as I was still in full rant to Mrs H about the string round the pork).

As you might guess, we’ve not been back.

We do not do Italian food very well in the UK - no great basis from immigration, I suppose. So , the Murano experience was as enjoyable as the Locatelli wasnt. We only have a couple of casual places near home that we go back to but they are places that we wouldnt really miss if they werent there (except that would mean we had no Italians on our list)

We enjoyed Locatelli’s Zafferano before they left and turned onto the “hotel corporate” route.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold