It's La Dolce Vita at This Covent Garden Restaurant

Angela Hartnett brings her Michelin-starred skills to a new Italian lunch menu.

Angela Hartnett MBE has brought her wizardry to the capital once again, this time with her new elaborate North Italian Sunday lunch menu in Covent Garden.

She’s certainly made her mark here in London, ever since being a protégée of Gordon Ramsay. After several years as chef-patron at Angela Hartnett at the Connaught, she’s now chef-patron for Michelin-starred Murano restaurant, and the two outlets of Café Murano.

Angela Hartnett, London, UK
Michelin-starred Angela Hartnett, MBE, is one of London's most prominent chefs (©Murano London)

It’s thanks to Café Murano that the north Italian specialities can very much be part of your Sunday lunch. Forget your usual English Sunday roast. This Pranzo della Domenica Sunday lunch menu brings elaborate ciccetti and more substantial Italian dishes partnered together to make an exceedingly satisfying meal.

This branch is in Covent Garden, always a popular neighbourhood; you’re in the middle of Theatreland, for starters, with the Royal Opera House, the cobbles of the piazza, the market and the chichi boutiques. It’s quite a hub.

Arancini, Cafe Murano, London, UK
Crisp arancini with a light, creamy centre, a great choice for a cichette (©Cafe Murano)

If you want to absorb some of the neighbourhood’s ambience, you could choose a table at the front of the restaurant, next to the huge windows overlooking lively Tavistock Street. Towards the back it’s notably softer and quieter, with dark panelled walls, huge mirrors, soft leather banquettes and round marble tables in pale grey. There's also a light-filled upstairs dining room with a glass window.

The menu here is far from your average Sunday lunch. In typical Italian style there’s a selection of cichetti, antipasti, primi and secondi and you can judge your own appetite – that’s the beauty of a selection of small dishes to share.

Cafe Murano, London, UK
Sharing plates with Italian delicacies make a special Sunday lunch here (©Cafe Murano)

Dishes are seasonal and change regularly but some are longstanding favourites. Take the Harry’s Bar toasted sandwich—it came from the famous bar in Venice, a wholesome feast of ham and cheese. For something more overtly Italian you don’t have to look much further than arancini, light as a feather with a hint of cheese and sundried tomatoes.

Cheese lovers can continue their feast with creamy burratina, perfection on crisp foccacia with oil and cherry tomatoes, or mozzarella with San Daniele prosciutto. There’s a summery asparagus, broad bean and pea salad with a light, lemony dressing, topped with shaved parmesan.

Cafe Murano, London, UK
The menu offers a wide variety of meat, seafood, pasta and other Italian specialities (©Cafe Murano)

Seafood is a star on the menu—one of the most popular dishes is the lobster spaghetti with datterini vine tomatoes, and there’s a fabulously plump hake with shards of pickled red onion. Meat eaters will love the chicken Milanese with rocket and Parmesan.

If you’re impressed by the freshness of the ingredients, it’s probably because they’re all driven by van from Italy, every week—something that Ms Hartnett takes great pride in.

Cafe Murano, London, UK
Hand-made ravioli is attractively served in copper dishes (©Cafe Murano)

It’s not only for Sunday lunch of course. Theatregoers will be tempted by the good-value theatre menu: 2 courses for just £16.50, 3 courses for £21, or a late-night special of lobster spaghetti and Prosecco for £20.

Bringing the perfect lunch to an end is a typically Italian selection, and you don’t have to look much further than to find happiness on a plate with the tiramisu and zabaglione. It’s la dolca vita, for sure!

Cafe Murano, 36 Tavistock St, WC2E 7PB. 020 7240 3654. 

Find more London dining ideas here.

Cafe Murano, London, UK
The cafe is on the bustling Tavistock Street in Covent Garden (©Cafe Murano)