Whenever Moominmama comes to visit I always have to strike a balance between dressing smartly with interesting notes that she'll appreciate, while not going too far down the crazy brick road. This time she's in town in search of some artwork and 'the perfect flat white shoe' so she'll be occupied during the day, perfect since I'm planning on working all weekend. We're meeting up for mealtimes, though, to continue our culinary exploration of London.
Last night we tried out Murano, Angela Hartnett's Italian restaurant in Mayfair which I've seen receiving much praise on the television and have been trying to negotiate a booking for about six months. Schedules finally meshed and we got to experience some skilled, if not earth-shaking, Italianesque cookery. Mother had a pickled beetroot and goats curd salad (the new sun-dried tomato...), spaghetti al pomodoro (the ultimate test of an Italian restaurant) and charred pineapple with coconut cream and granite. I went for a wild mushroom bruschetta with garlic purée, orecchiette with chilli, broccoli and ricotta salata, followed by chocolate ganache with passion fruit sorbet and mint gel. Both starters and both desserts were delicious and excellently balanced but the pomodoro sauce wasn't quite 'dry' enough (it didn't cling to the pasta the way one might hope) and my orecchiette, while nice, weren't a patch on what I've had before in Puglia. We were also slightly disappointed by the wine list, a hefty book with only a couple of pages each of Italian reds and whites (you'll struggle to find anything under £40 as well). The bar didn't serve our favourite after-dinner liqueur, Strega, and I had hoped for a glass of passito di Pantelleria but settled for something from the Veneto. One great bonus: the service was outstanding. I've forgotten her name but the Polish front-of-house who looked after us was polite, helpful and genuinely interested in starting a conversation. Other restaurants in London could take some lessons here.
We're constantly reminded not to expect too much of Italian food served outside Italy; it's always somewhat of a let-down. But wonderful meals on The Rocks in Sydney and all over Austria and Switzerland make us think one day it'll be possible in Britain too. So Murano — great, but not mind-blowing. I'd happily eat there again, but probably if someone else was paying...
Wearing jacket with disappearing collar by Qasimi Homme, silk pleated top by Paul Smith, trousers by Topman.