Angela Hartnett has confirmed that Café Murano Covent Garden will open at 34-36 Tavistock Street on 29 June 2015.The second Café Murano restaurant will take the simple and seasonal approach to Italian cooking that has made the original in St. James’s a critical hit and local favourite, but will have a distinct personality. The menu has been developed by new Head Chef, Richard Lloyd, formerly sous chef at Hartnett, Holder and Co. in collaboration with Angela, and is inspired by recent travels around the regions of Italy. Next door at 34 Tavistock St. the new Pastificio will open on 13 July and offer pasta cooked daily by Angela’s chefs, available to take away for the first time with a bottle of wine or salumi.
Russell Sage Studios has designed the 140-cover restaurant space to encourage relaxation and conviviality, with the ground floor featuring warm terracotta leather banquette seating, a signature Carrera marble dining counter and antipasti stations displaying fresh and cured produce, for wait staff to bring to guests at their dark wooden tables. The upstairs dining room has a distinct ethereal quality, with dappled light filtering in through the latticework of the wooden tiles on the glass roof. The first floor will have its own bar in dark lacquered walnut wood and banquettes in midnight blue leather.
Café Murano Covent Garden’s opening menu will include antipasti such as Octopus, potatoes, capers and paprika and Ricotta Courgettes with preserved lemon honey. For Primi, pastas such as Farfalle, rabbit, peas and girolles and Gnocchi, feta, rosemary and olive oil will be available, and a number of Secondi dishes will comprise whole fish and cuts of meat served to share. The growing legions of truffle arancini devotees need not fret, as they will appear alongside Café Murano St. James’s classics of Chicken Milanese and Lobster linguine, on the new menu at Covent Garden.
As befits a restaurant situated in the heart of Covent Garden’s newly titled ‘Opera Quarter,’ and within walking distance of many of London’s prized cultural institutions, a pre and post theatre menu will offer daily set menus, with two courses at £16.50 or £21 for three.
The wine list will be proudly all-Italian, with the exception of a select grower Champagne list, and has been curated by Emily Harman, former sommelier at the River Café and wine buyer for the Zetter Group. Emily has put her considerable experience into a generous list of artisanal reds, whites, pinks and oranges from interesting, small-scale producers. A list of sparkling Italian wines will cover not only Prosecco, but Lambrusco and Franciacorta, for those looking to expand their bubbles repertoire. Glasses will start from £4.50 and bottles from £19.50, with sparkling from £38.00.
The bar team have created a new range of cocktails exclusively for Covent Garden, designed to celebrate Italy’s spirits and liqueurs. These will include the ‘Lusinghiero’, a dry and classic drink made with a rum and vermouth base, adapted from an old North Italian recipe. Another, the ‘San Siro,’ made with a Branca Menta base and limencello, lime juice and thyme, will be a refreshing option as the long summer days unfurl. A short selection of favourites from St. James’s will also be available, including the sparkling Sulla Luna, and despite warnings of a Prosecco shortage this year, seasonal Bellinis are very much on the list.
The ‘Pastificio’, next door to the restaurant at number 36, translates directly from the Italian as ‘pasta factory’. True to description, pasta ‘fatta a mano,’ such as the delicate spinach and ricotta tortelli and meaty anolini that Angela has become known for, will be made in house and available to take home every day. Taking gentle liberties with the term however, Café Murano’s ‘pastificio’ will stretch its remit to include a selection of quality salumi, fresh pasta sauces and wines from the restaurant, also for sale at shop prices. The Café Murano team trust this artistic licence with translation will be excused in the name of good food and wine.