Whilst on our travels in Japan, we ate in many fine dining establishments, one star, two stars, but also a Japanese pub. So now back in London, we decided to try Italian. And the winner is??
As the group of 8 are now avoiding raw fish for a while, too much protein and not enough fruit and veg. we headed out to Angela Hartnett’s flagship restaurant ” Murano”. I have been a fan of hers for a while, with her down to earth approach, but that was long before she had her own restaurant. She was once the head Chef at The Connaught, one of Ramseys restaurant in London. We dined there for son’s university graduation, with the Ladies Who Lunch and in the kitchen at the Chefs table for a daughter’s birthday. Then once she moved to Murano, a couple of times, again with the Ladies Who Lunch. So I felt that I had a history with Angela ( even though I had never met her).
Murano is one of the few good restaurants that will take reservations for 8, for many 6 is the maximum. This was my choice of restaurant and I was confident that we would eat good food and have a fun evening.
It is a relatively small restaurant with only 55 covers and we were seated at the back, which is not the best place to be, given that it was by the kitchen door! Four of us were seated on the banquette, however we had to ask for an extra chair, as four on the banquette was too much of a squeeze. We then had to rearrange the table settings ourselves, which surprised me somewhat.
The menu is interesting, it is priced for how many courses are eaten, there is not one which says starters, nor one for main, you can choose which order to eat them in. The pre appetizers were good, tiny arranchini with parmesan, Italian cold meats bread and olive oil. The small plates were not cleared away ( they remain so we can put food on them? strange, as we had eaten all of the nibbles). So plates were pushed to the middle of the table, as there was certainly not enough room elsewhere. Food arrived and on the whole it was good, I chose for my starter the parmesan gnocchi with wild boar and to follow green asparagus ( new season) and for my main Monkfish. This was a disappointment as it was cold. It was sent back and returned to me very quickly, not sure how it had be re done that fast!
The evening was fun as we were with friends for a special evening but to my mind there was too much wrong . The dirty plates left on the table, the position of the table, the maitre d” not knowing his Mooli from his Daikon and of course my monkfish being cold. They did apologise profusely, but not enough to warrant a return even though they did offer a free lunch. So back to my question, one star, two stars Japanese, or one star London? I am afraid Japan wins this contest.