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20-22 Queen Street, LONDON, W1J 5PP

4 rosettes

Angela Hartnett's career has followed one of the more fascinating London trajectories. She emerged from Gordon Ramsay's empire in the Aubergine days, and went on to become head chef at The Connaught (see entry), where she managed to prise the menus free of their attachment to the institutional Edwardian cooking of yesteryear. She has always maintained loyalty to her ancestral traditions of Italian eating, and now celebrates domestic foodways with Luke Holder at New Forest hotel Lime Wood (see entry, Lyndhurst, Hampshire). Here in Mayfair, the emphasis is less on peasant rustico, which is perhaps as well, and more on the opulence that comes with bespoke Venetian chandeliers, white leather upholstery and a clinically white, squeaky-clean feel that's hardly like sitting in a Tuscan albergo. And again, not all the food is necessarily, obviously Italian in inspiration. A dinner that progresses from scallop and sea bream céviche with herb tempura and orange vinaigrette, to loin and belly of rabbit with Dijon crème fraîche and croquet-monsieur, to finish with rice pudding soufflé and rum and raisin ice cream, will make an Italian native feel as though they'd bought the wrong flight tickets, however exquisite the results. Other dishes feel like crossovers. A lunch opener of fried lamb's sweetbreads is beautifully garnished with spring onions and shallot rings, a savoury purée of apple and shallot, and rich, buttery, warm mustard vinaigrette, for a highly satisfying prelude. Timing of fish is spot-on, as when a piece of monkfish turns up à point, offset cleverly with a topping of crushed almonds, alongside puréed broccoli, sautéed button mushrooms and a golden chicken jus, the touch of genius a shard of crisped chicken skin. For the echt Italian dishes, look to the signature pumpkin tortelli, its clean, resonant filling underscored by the lovely sheen of the sage butter, and a daring note of sweetness from crushed amaretti, while a main course of superb turbot with tender octopus, roasted cauliflower purée and Ibérico ham, shows a dab hand at the pairing of meat and fish. Full-on meat dishes might encompass Anjou pigeon with stem broccoli, pistachios and grilled foie gras. Desserts ring out clear as a bell with the expected richnesses, obviously so in the case of a complex layered chocolate cake with bitter orange, which has a hot black sauce poured on to melt through its brittle chocolate top and give an instant fondant centre.

Further information

Tel: 020 7495 1127
Please quote 'The AA'.
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Days closed: Sun
Dates closed: 25-26 Dec

Restaurant information

Cooking type: Modern European, Italian influence
Chef: Diego Cardoso
Number of seats: 46
Accessible for wheelchairs.
Disabled toilets.
Vegetarian meals available.
Children welcome.
Children's portions.

Murano, London w1


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Nearest station: Green Park

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