Just over a year ago, we reviewed Nababbo, the Italian restaurant which then occupied this handily-located basement site, below Leadenhall Market. The upshot of our review was that it wasn’t a bad restaurant, but overpriced to the point that no one would rationally ever spend their own money there. Fairly soon afterwards, Nababbo was history (doubtless due to the awesome but terrible power of a negative City AM review).

On initial impressions, it looked as if Nababbo’s successor might just be a name-change job, and we weren’t in a hurry to go back to check out this ‘new’ establishment. Eventually, however, curiosity got the better of us. And we’re glad it did, as this is now a useful place to know about in the heart of the City.

That’s not to say that we were wrong about the changes being largely superficial: there are few, if any, alterations to the comfortable and well-spaced – if hardly stylish – interior, and the staff still give the impression they have been there forever. The menu is still as traditional-Italian as you could want. Its realisation, however, is much better than the musical accompaniment – ‘All Your Favourite Italian Arias’ – would suggest. In fact, everything at our lunch was of good and solid quality, the stand-out being an almost excessively generous crab risotto, of just the right consistency.

What really makes this place useful, though, is that decent standards come at reasonable prices. You could have a generous business lunch for £50 a head (about a quarter less than before), and a light lunch with a mate for quite a lot less than that. Early evening (till 7.30pm), they even do a half-price-food deal. Decent ‘pre-theatre’ meals in the City, at a reasonable cost? – times they really must be a-changing.

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