Located next door to Cafe Murano Covent Garden, a pasta factory, deli-café and wine store from Angela Hartnett.
Harden's survey result
“For a handy pre-theatre option, light lunch or mid-afternoon snack; meeting someone for a coffee or glass of bubbles; or for an informal, relaxed business rendezvous”, Angela Hartnett’s massively popular “relatively casual” spin-offs provide conveniently located venues, which – at their best – deliver a “lovely, regional Italian menu” and “a well-priced, exclusively Italian wine list” in a “pleasantly vibrant” atmosphere. Ratings dipped this year though, with increasing gripes about food that’s “decent but lacking that extra sparkle”, or decor that’s “slightly cramped and nothing special”. Higher marks though for the “charming and engaging service”.
“Proper decent Italian food without needless bells and whistles – just as you’d expect from Angela Hartnett, plus some surprisingly good (and well-priced) wines” help win a huge fan club for her “more relaxed” Theatreland and St James’s outposts, especially amongst business-lunchers who like their “reliable and low-key” style. The cooking “lacks the magic of the Murano mothership” however, and the “welcoming” staff can be off the case.
“Straightforward cooking, with a twist beyond the staple dishes” and “professional” service – all “without the mothership’s high prices” – win high popularity for Angela Hartnett’s spin-offs in St James’s and Covent Garden. Some reports are sceptical though: “sure the food’s fine, but mainstream, and do we need another star chef’s standard West End option where the biggest excitement is their name?”
“Satisfying on every level” – Angela Hartnett’s “cosmopolitan and delightful” year-old spin off in St James’s has shot to fame thanks to its “disciplined” service and “well-pitched”, “reasonably priced” Italian fare; post-survey, a 140-cover Covent Garden sibling opened in late June 2015.