EAT - DRINK - BE MERRY
Murano May 2009
For Her birthday we went to Murano. Angela Hartnett’s place and part of the Ramsay stable. From the outside it looks like an upmarket estate agent, very well to do in an understated Mayfair sort of fashion. The interior had the air of a showroom, clean design, open, airy and light.
You don't expect that these sort of occasions will be cheap and it wasn't until the bill came that I saw I'd paid £6.50 for a gin and tonic, oh no, my mistake, I paid £6.50 for the gin, the tonic was another £2.00. Such is the way of things. The menus were great value, however. And here I have to emphasise the difference between cheap and value. This was by far the most expensive meal I have ever paid for but it was nonetheless great value.
I wouldn't call Murano an Italian restaurant, there are no swivel hipped waiters with enormous pepper grinders, the chefs aren't arguing and there aren't any cheap candles stuck in the top of Chianti bottles. But the food has a strong Italianate slant. The menus sit like this, set lunch three courses for £27, a la carte three courses £60 and tasting, eight courses £75, they also have a three course vegetarian option for £55 which looked fantastic.
We got stuck into the a la carte, for starters I had quail angeloti, little pasta parcels of delicate game, topped with grilled foie gras, beautiful. She had scallops with celeriac puree, pickled rhubarb and Iberico ham, there's nothing to be said about this as a dish, as near to perfection in flavour combinations as you could get.
I had beef for a main, top quality ingredients simply cooked and She had rabbit, it looked like an anatomical model in pieces, kidneys, rack, liver (“I’ve got his funnybone! Buzzz!”), there was also a little pasta tube filled with a mousse to complete the autopsy. Each part supremely cooked, light and delicious.
Before the puddings came a little guessing game, the waiter presented us with a bon-bon tray holding little multi-coloured balls of sorbet. “I can tell you what they are now, or you can guess” he said. She was a master of this, I thought that with my wine tasting training that I would beat Her hands down, but she was like a tasting machine, “basil, mandarin, bergamot” all correct. There were no prizes for Her showing off, apart from a massive chocolate and pistachio soufflé, while I had the cheese. I promise that this will definitely be my last cheese board. I can’t believe I am paying extra for something that they have just gone out and bought. It’s because cheese is the right thing to have particularly when you’ve had a few good glasses of wine and with a glass of Marsala.
Top restaurant, lovely staff, beautiful dining room, terrific food. I can almost forgive the £8.50 gin and tonic.