Getting a lunch reservation at Angela Hartnett’s Murano (the £25.00 set deal is supposedly one of the best in London) is nigh on impossible for what’s left of 2008. Common sense nevertheless dictates that the next best thing would be the Y&A where Hartnett as the Chef Patron, oversees the restaurant dining and the delicatessen attached nearby. A reservation for Sunday dinner was duly secured without much ado.
We were seated at a table with a prime view of the entire dining room on the ground floor. This dining room was rather cosy and not too clinical like most ramsayfied establishments. The ambience in the already packed room (remarkable for a Sunday evening!) was bustling with liveliness but with a well-mannered air about it. The room is too under lit during dinner, it would be nice to differentiate if the bread you chose was brown or white without the waiter having to move the bread tray precariously close to the candle for your perusal. An additional dining room in the basement that shares its location with the open kitchen, was done up in a deep crimson effect (too bloodthirsty for my tastes). The service was exemplary, charming and genuine.
Onto the grub:
Freebie Chicken Liver Parfait- the liquid like consistency of the parfait demanded the pieces of toast to be dunked and savoured.Dining Companion’s (DC) starter of Parma ham, chicory and pear salad with red wine vinaigrette was pronounced excellent (let’s be honest how can one go wrong with Parma ham, but I must admit I thought the poached pear slices were a masterstroke).
I started with a rather wonderful smoked duck salad with charred leeks and grated hazelnut- the duck served was certainly novel to me with the way it was sliced wafer thin like beef carpaccio.
DC’s next course of pan-fried cod with curry seasoning, mussel and saffron sauce was a beautiful looking dish; the fish was perfectly cooked and the accompanying fragrant sea-salty sauce ensured that the everything on the plate ended up in the stomach.
My classic Sunday mains of Roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, potatoes, carrots, sprouts and spinach was a dish even Augustus Gloop would have been proud of, for it was huge and generous with the trimmings. The beef although cooked rightfully pink and beefy flavoured, was not exactly melt in the mouth whereas the roast potatoes were stratospheric (it’s strange how we keep comparing notes on the fat chip instead).
Highlight for me tonight was the shared Steamed treacle sponge pudding with vanilla custard. This giant of an English pudding was absolutely, mind-blowingly and unashamedly flipping gorgeous. The custard that came with it was certainly toothsome but I can’t help but think that Bird's Custard might well be better suited instead.Call me a peasant if you may, I could quite easily have this treacly pud as a starter, then a mains and finally a pudding yet again!
Hartnett and Ramsay have certainly made it worked here, it’s no stereotypical hotel dining here, as it’s more charming and genuine. I’m emphatically coming back here for breakfast, lunch, dinner and the pudding.
London NW1 7PS