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Murano


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Folks

I had lunch at Murano yesterday (Saturday) lunchtime. I arrived about five minutes early (11:55) but was seated right away. I'd only booked an hour or so before, but they seemed to 'recognise' me from before. I guess it doesn't take much to take a phone number I gave at reservation time and plug it into a database, because I didn't recognise anyone front of house! Still, a nice touch to have some recognition.

First thoughts of the restaurant are of an airy, bright and spacious setting.

I had a glass of Jacquart 1997 blanc de blancs to get me off the starting grid: it was really deep and toasty.

I went a la carte and chose the carnaroli risotto and rack of lamb.

I chose an Isola e Olena Chardonay 2006 myself and a Taruto Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino La Casa 2000 after some discussion with the sommelier.

Freebies were cheese risotto balls and also Parma ham with bread and olive oil. The Parma ham with bread is very much like the old Connaught way, and indeed this is one of the ways that Hartnett has managed to successfully make a clear difference between her own ideas and the Ramsay formula.

Just like at the Connaught, the waiting staff couldn't wait to take the bread away at every opportunity: I personally like to use bread to mop up after each course: perhaps not conceived as a terribly posh thing to do, but I do like to leave a clean plate. A gravy spoon alone is not enough!

The risotto tasted very good, with a fair bit of parmesan in there, and the addition of a dollop pesto on the top made a tasty dish, but I though it was a little watery, and might have benefitted from loading up a bit more butter during the later stages. I was a little surprised about this, not what I would have expected to be honest.

Then I was presented with a freebie course (apparently because of my regularity of patronising the Connaught) of red mullet of a bed of crushed peas and an almond puree. Beautifully cooked, the fish was superlative together with the crushed peas and interestingly with the almond puree. I think almond puree must be the in thing at the moment, it's the second time I've had it in a week. But there's a problem with almond puree in that it cakes up on the plate very very quickly.

The lamb was almost all beautiful, the shoulder and tortellini parts gorgeous, but the rack hadn't really been topped and tailed very well with a couple of sinuey entrails left over. It was served with a wonderful ratatouille puree, that tasted slightly smokey and really gave the dish its own individuality.

The cheese trolley was quite good, with thirty five or so cheeses. Had some Epoisses and a couple of other smelly gooeys that I matched with the chardonnay, plus a nice big lump of Roquefort and started on a '89 La Tour Blanche Sauternes that I ended up sharing with another table.

For dessert I had vanilla parfait with peach and requested chocolate sauce of the side, so I could pair better with the Sauternes.

I finished off with fresh mint tea and a look around: it was 4:30pm by this time, so everyone else had already left, although the kitchen was prepping for the dinner service. At the back of the room there is an area that can be sectioned off for private dining, overlooking the kitchen through a large window. I think that it would be worth requesting a table in this area if there's no private dining going on.

Which brings me on to the irritations! The spot I was given was by the bar area near the door. There was nothing, not even a partition, to protect me from the rush of cold air every time somebody came in. And then, being Saturday lunchtime, families with kids started arriving. The first had two infants, and to be fair they did their utmost to placate their little ones, for which I appreciate their efforts.

The second lot though were unforgiveable. Three adults (mother and grand parents) and two kids, about six and eight years old, who clearly had no clue about sitting down at the table. First thing I know is as I receive another gush of cold air and wind is one of the little sh!ts coming straight to my table and gazing directly at me. He was so close I felt like I was trying to get a ticket in a train station in Delhi. Luckily despite the half bottle of wine I'd had I refrained from telling the young thing to bugger off. The rest of their service involved kids running about almost uncontrolled. For a couple of hours the place felt more like a creche than a restaurant.

Don't get me wrong - I have seen children of this age at the Capital and Le Gav who are so absolutely well behaved that prove there are still manners and a concept of a time and a place.

Walking into the loos is like going into a fairground atrraction, with mirrors everywhere. Crikey was I glad I hadn't had too much when I tried them out, I could've been stuck there for days.

I mentioned the location of my table by the door with its own rain forest microclimate, suggesting an extended partition, but the maitre d' was adamant that they weren't going to change anything. Regarding the kids he said, "What can I do? We'd be straight in the press if we did anything." I do sympathise. But perhaps there's a diplomatic way to deal with these things. He said it's the first time. Interestingly another diner mentioned the child thing to the maitre d' too.

Service was just how I like it, except for the minor aberrations of the bread battle, and the slightly false sense that although they think they knew me, I couldn't really reciprocate I'm afraid.

I enjoyed it, and will return. Just not on Saturday lunchtime.

Cheers, Howard

Edited by howardlong (log)
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Grrrrrrrr, children in restaurants!! Pizza hut/brewers fayre, ok. When your paying £50+ a head, not cool.

As for being by the front door, I guess its was either there or sat by the toilets so you get a waft of Bloo everytime someone went past!

Thanks for the report, Murano has seemed to get favourable press so far.

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Grrrrrrrr, children in restaurants!! Pizza hut/brewers fayre, ok. When your paying £50+ a head, not cool.

As for being by the front door, I guess its was either there or sat by the toilets so you get a waft of Bloo everytime someone went past!

Thanks for the report, Murano has seemed to get favourable press so far.

I was equidistant beween the outside door and the loos. What with the gale outside and the mirrors everywhere in the loo I wasn't sure if I was in a mad episode of Dr Who standing in the front porch of the tardis.

H

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Don't get me wrong - I have seen children of this age at the Capital and Le Gav who are so absolutely well behaved that prove there are still manners and a concept of a time and a place.

I think the most difficult negotiation of my entire life was persuading the Maitre D’ to continue to honour my 40th Birthday reservation at L’Ambroisie after my sister and brother-in-law announced a change of holiday plans that meant they would now be accompanied by a two-year old. Ten solid minutes of pleading and hard bargaining, made all the more difficult because, actually, I was kinda with the Maitre D on this one. Still, family is family, and a Saturday night reservation at L’Ambroisie is not something to be relinquished without a fight…

Fortunately Rhiannon did us proud - as did the restaurant; especially for a place that has one of the most ‘difficult’ reputations of the Paris 3*s. My sense was that, on arrival, half the serving staff viewed us like leprosy and opted out - but the rest were charm itself.

Strategies on “How to deal with the Child in such Surroundings” seemed to divide into three approaches which we alternated between:

- my sister’s approach: buy up every non-noise-making toy in Hamleys and bring it with you to keep her amused and distracted;

- the receptionist/front of house staff’s approach: take her out from time-to-time and wheel her around the Places des Vosges whilst signing French lullabies; and

- the kitchen’s approach: bring her an endlessly indulgent stream of Paris’s finest ice cream and little cakes.

Anyway, if she had done the “terrible two” thing, Plan B was that one of the Parents would either take her back to the hotel or wheel her around Paris as they staggered courses. Because everyone recognised that other people are paying good money (and more) for what is a special night out for them too, so a hefty dollop of consideration for others is in order. To underline what Howard said and to disagree with spanielking a bit: it’s not a problem of ‘children in restaurants’ (even top end £50@+) per se (thought this was testing that view probably beyond the point to which I was entirely comfortable..): it’s a problem with some parents in restaurants – probably reflecting on their inability to set boundaries in general. Conversely, my experience has been that when children are well-behaved, other diners don't just appreciate it but seem actively to welcome them into 'the community' so to speak.

In the end this one will backfire on her mum and dad, though. Age two, Rhiannon looked to the manner born as she supped her water from the solid silver sugar bowl, and I think even now is becoming rapidly accustomed to a lifestyle that will bankrupt them. I may have paid for dinner but it’s her dad that’s going to face the more ruinous bill !

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it’s not a problem of ‘children in restaurants’ : it’s a problem with some parents in restaurants – probably reflecting on their inability to set boundaries in general.

precisely - fellow diners of all ages can be objectionable, if their behaviour is insensitive to others.

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  • 4 months later...

I had a good meal at Murano last night. Some very well executed dishes, with some overdone partridge being the only real slip-up.

There was one moment of extreme cruelty, however. With starters finished, cutlery was laid for the main course but also an additional fish spoon provided for all. We had seen the table next door served the red mullet freebie that Howard describes above - surely we were in line to receive the same?

No! Our fish spoons were left unused! What a sad moment that was...

Very cruel.

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  • 7 months later...

This thread is ominously quiet - does it mean no-one is going, or that the food is neither so good or so bad that it's worthy of an update? Mr PSB is keen to go, as he loves Italian food, following the Harden 'Best Newcomer' gong, but it does sound expensive, and rather poky & unfriendly. We'd be taking mini-PSB who's 10, so we'd be eating at 7.00, and I don't fancy the constant reminders that we can't hang around! So would we be better going to Locanda Locatelli?

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  • 2 months later...

This thread is ominously quiet - does it mean no-one is going, or that the food is neither so good or so bad that it's worthy of an update? Mr PSB is keen to go, as he loves Italian food, following the Harden 'Best Newcomer' gong, but it does sound expensive, and rather poky & unfriendly. We'd be taking mini-PSB who's 10, so we'd be eating at 7.00, and I don't fancy the constant reminders that we can't hang around! So would we be better going to Locanda Locatelli?

This thread is very quiet.

I,ve looked at Murano a few times and decided, well----,no, perhaps not yet. Until I read recently that Sat Bains really rates it, so knowing that his taste buds are well in the right order, so to speak, :biggrin: I upped it on my list.

Trouble is my weekends are taken care of until Jan 2010 so a midweek journey is called for.

I tried to get a table for two online, on limited dates, with no success.I even phoned with no success.

Not to be beaten,I went on line today and put every daytime lunch until the end of the year and still could not get a table!

Finally I phoned reservations again in desperation and guess what.

I GOT A TABLE.

Is the problem the online booking system? It must be costing them a fortune

Gordon Ramsay you owe me a free meal :smile:

BTW, Did you go?

Please tell

Any recent reports, pretty please,xx

Edited by david goodfellow (log)

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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  • 2 weeks later...

We made it to Murano on Saturday. It was a very good overall experience: it as also very expensive... The cost was our fault in a way - we let ourselves be led into costly byways - if you were more disciplined, you could get away with a more reasonable bill and still enjoy yourselves.

It was Mr PSB's birthday treat - and they did actually enquire whether we were celebrating something, and wrote 'Happy Birthday' in chocolate on his pudding plate - whch really impressed mini-PSB aged 10.

The food was very good, very professional, but I have to say that except for the pre-dessert of lots of stunning little ice creams, nothing really stood out for me. It was the whole thing that impressed, not the food per se.

The staff were all very good - except that we were put under so much 'persuasion' to have the white truffle special that we had it when we didn't really want to. (It was delicious but so it should be at £45 for scrambled (Italian) eggs with a bit of white truffle).

The restaurant itself is beautiful, and there is plenty of space between the tables; very rare in London, as is the high number of waiting staff, so it was all very relaxed and comme il faut. For a special meal it was perfect - and they were fantastic with mini-PSB - taking him into the kitchen before we sat down and then again afterwards (I got to accompany him). Foodwise, I prefer gutsier food than this serves, perhaps, but the whole experience was very good. For food vs value, I'd go to Wild Honey or Arbutus, but for making you feel relaxed and special, Murano hit the spot last Saturday.

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