Claiming to offer a ‘simple and seasonal’ approach to Italian cooking, but with a ‘distinct personality’ from the St James site, Café Murano Covent Garden will open on 29 June.
The menu at the 140-cover Tavistock Street site has been developed by new head chef Richard Lloyd, in collaboration with Hartnett.
Lloyd, formerly sous chef at Hartnett, Holder and Co, has claimed to have been inspired by recent trips to a number of regions in Italy.
A new pastificio will open directly next to the new Café Murano on 13 July. Translated directly as ‘pasta factory’, it will offer pasta cooked by Hartnett’s chefs, as well as salumi, fresh pasta sauces and wines from the restaurant. The pasta will be available as a takeaway option.
The ground floor of Café Murano will feature warm terracotta leather banquette seating, a signature Carrera marble dining counter, and antipasti stations displaying fresh and cured produce.
Upstairs, the dining room ambience will be aided by dappled light filtering in through the latticework of the wooden tiles on the glass roof. The first floor will have its own bar in dark lacquered walnut wood and banquettes in midnight blue leather.
The café’s opening menu will include antipasti such as octopus, potatoes, capers and paprika, and ricotta courgettes with preserved lemon honey.
For primi, pastas such as farfalle, rabbit, peas and girolles, and gnocchi, feta, rosemary and olive oil will be available. Meanwhile, a number of secondi dishes will comprise whole fish and cuts of meat served to share.
Replicating the St James site, truffle arancini will appear alongside the likes of chicken Milanese and lobster linguine on the new menu at Covent Garden.
A pre and post-theatre menu will offer daily set menus, with two courses at £16.50 or £21 for three.
The wine list will have an all-Italian small-producer focus, with the exception of a select grower Champagne list. It has been curated by Emily Harman, former sommelier at the River Café and wine buyer for the Zetter Group.
Emily has put her considerable experience into a generous list of artisanal reds, whites, pinks and oranges from interesting, small-scale producers. A list of sparkling Italian wines will cover not only prosecco, but lambrusco and franciacorta. Glasses will start from £4.50 and bottles from £19.50, with sparkling from £38.
A new range of cocktails will include the lusinghiero, a dry and classic drink made with a rum and vermouth base, adapted from an old north Italian recipe.
Another, the San Siro, is made with a Branca Menta base and limencello, lime juice and thyme.
A short selection of favourites from St James’s will also be available, including the sparkling Sulla Luna and seasonal bellinis.
Angela Hartnett is currently recruiting for a chef de partie, click here for more information.