Many “phenomenal” Italianate meals are reported at Angela Hartnett’s “classy” and “understated” Mayfair HQ; bizarrely, though, ever since her establishment quit the Ramsay empire, it has seemed more and more to “lack a personal touch”, and the ratings slid noticeably this year… again.
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Gordon Ramsay is so omnipresent in the media nowadays that it’s easy to forget that the number of undoubted ‘hit’ London restaurants with which he has ever been associated is precisely three ...
Press Reviews (11)
Marina O'Loughlin (26th November 2008)
The critic finds she can’t love the latest Hartnett/Ramsay restaurant, in Mayfair. “Perhaps it's the look of the place: a typically high-gloss, low-personality Big Sweary special”, with staff who have “the jittery clenchedness endemic to most BS operations”. And the Michelin-seeking food wallows in “luxurious safety” – a meat dish may have been “unimpeachable”, but it was “also dull”. “[S]urely Hartnett can let herself go a little, let her ballsiness shine through?”
Zoe Williams (17th November 2008)
Puddings are a bit up-and-down, but otherwise the critic is full of praise for this “classy” recent Mayfair addition to the Ramsay stable, and concludes that Angela Hartnett is a “charismatic, sure-footed, sometimes awesome chef”.
AA Gill (13th October 2008)
A sort of classic of a Gill review, mainly taken up by a digression (about buying art for the nation) which lacks even the figleaf of a spurious link to the notional subject. It then proceeds to a further (unlinked) digression which imparts to any intelligent reader something they knew already: “Murano is an island in the Venetian lagoon famous for its glass.” Wow, the erudition of it. We then have a couple of name checks of the semi-famous people he was eating with, and a smutty double-entendre. Yes, all the classic features are here: you can see why he’s allegedly the UK’s highest-paid journo.
Matthew Norman (6th October 2008)
“Leave him, love. You say that you have been together ages, and that you’d be nothing without him. All right, you're terrified of going it alone - who wouldn’t be?… [H]e's stifling you. It’s time to make the break”. Like almost all other reviewers to date, the Guardian’s man urges Angela Hartnett, with her “genuinely immense talent”, to free herself from the shackles of the “potty-mouthed svengali Gordon Ramsay”.
Terry Durack (22nd September 2008)
“[Y]ou can't get a table for love or money”, notes the critic, at Ms Harntnett’s Mayfair newcomer, where both food and décor come “formally attired”. “[T]his is Italian [cooking] refined by French technique into contemporary, international luxe”, he notes, and very satisfactory too.
“‘What you want is feedback,’ my arse”. As the critic so sagely notes, when a chef says he, or she, wants feedback, what he wants is “admiration, praise, love”. “You don’t get… big by giving a hoot for ‘feedback’, you get there by giving people two choices: ‘Love me, or piss off’.” How very true.
Jasper Gerard (8th September 2008)
The Telegraph’s man is swept away by Gordon Ramsay’s/Angela Hartnett’s new kitchen, which he thinks is “fabulous ”.
John Walsh (8th September 2008)
The new addition to the Gordon Ramsay empire is “a discreet, muted-looking place in the heart of Mayfair”. Though Angela Hartnett’s food was “well-flavoured”, it left the critic “disappointed”. His guest describes it as “strangely unadventurous for such a ballsy lady”. And “[i]f the food wasn't quite four-star, the service tried a little too hard”.
Guy Dimond (4th September 2008)
“What is surprising is how understated Hartnett’s new [Mayfair Italian] restaurant is, after the pomp of The Connaught”, notes the critic. “It’s a biggish room of widely spaced tables which is refreshingly hushed and as still as the Venetian lagoon.” “Hartnett’s menu while she was at The Connaught was, at times, overwrought”, he says, but “not here, where simplicity is made a virtue [and] [t]he food is sensational from the first nibble”. The prices, though, are “the sting in the tail”.
Jan Moir (29th August 2008)
Have Ms Maschler and Ms Moir been talking? They both seem to be willing Angela Hartnett to free herself from her corporate shackles. Murano is “a tremendous new restaurant, a fabulous addition to the London dining scene”, notes the latter. “People will love it here, with its nicely spaced tables, friendly acoustics and forthright attitude to Italian food.” “The stately restraint, in both décor and menu”, however, “does not quite square with the Angela Hartnett we have all read about – “her own cookbook brims with simple, gutsy, family recipes”. “Perhaps one day she will open her own, independent restaurant, free of the constraints and strictures of a big company”.
Fay Maschler (29th August 2008)
“Murano is the first GRH [Gordon Ramsay Holdings] enterprise in London, apart from the Royal Hospital Road flagship, to stand outside a hotel, notes the critic, but it was still designed by a company that specialises in hotels, and the overall effect is “international anodyne posh, not helped by being too brightly lit”.