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Italian chef Maurizio Morelli and sommelier/wine importer Antonio Cerilli opened Latium on 26 September at 21 Berners Street, formerly a Fish! restaurant. Morelli has worked at Paolo, the green Olive, Ibla as well as the Halkin and Lanesborough hotels. Modern Italian food will be served in minimalist surroundings of black tiled flooring, dark wood seating with grey covers, white walls and sepia-tinted food art.

The restaurant has 55 seats, a wine list of approx 200 regional italian wines inclusing 10 by the glass and offers a set lunch for between £14-£22.00 and a la carte between £19.50-£28.50.

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Latium

21 Berners Street

Fitzrovia

London

W1T 3LP

020 7323 9123

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  • 2 weeks later...

i liked it, there was really care evident in the whole shebang. couple of wee teething troubles, like stale-ish crostini and petit fours, but since they were complimentary, we couldn't really complain.

great home-made bread and pasta, esp a walnut, sage and something else ravioli (sorry, rushed!)

would recommend for really really reasonable prices. i think our meal came to £60is for two.

m

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  • 2 months later...

Ate here last night post-theatre: table for 5 at 10.15. A wonderful evening. Much of the menu is familiar from Paolo, but even better here.

Crostini to start, then I had a sea bass carpaccio with green beans and new potatoes. A wonderful, fresh, zingy starter. Then the fish ravioli - monkfish, brill, salmon and tuna. Main of venison with polenta and glazed chestnuts was the only thing I think didn't quite come off - it was delicious, but suffered from comparision with the wonderful Assiette of Venison I'd had at Almeida earlier in the week. A perfect poached pear with divine white chocolate bavarois completed the evening.

A lively evening, so wasn't paying as much attention to the food as usual, but a great meal. Five bottles of wine, 4 courses for all of us, aperitifs and water came to a shade over £300 which I thought was great value. (I remember at Paolo the prices crept up quite steadily over the first few months, so will be interested to watch here).

We were the last in the dining room at 12.30 but Antonio was at pains not to rush us and as we started preparing to leave he wanted to make sure that we hadn't felt rushed. He said he and Maurizio had been planning to open a restaurant for the last 4 or 5 years when they found the right spot. He also said that the chef had latterly felt very constrained by being encouraged to reduce ingredient prices at Paolo whereas at Latium he was able to buy better quality produce.

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We were the last in the dining room at 12.30 but Antonio was at pains not to rush us and as we started preparing to leave he wanted to make sure that we hadn't felt rushed.  He said he and Maurizio had been planning to open a restaurant for the last 4 or 5 years when they found the right spot.  He also said that the chef had latterly felt very constrained by being encouraged to reduce ingredient prices at Paolo whereas at Latium he was able to buy better quality produce.

Hi,

My name is Natalia and I’m part of Paolo restaurant’s team.

I find this site informative and very constructive for people in the restaurant business. I have been reading trough the pages of e-gullet for many months now, but this time I feel compelled to write.

I am afraid the above paragraph contains few inaccuracies, due to the incorrect information that was given to Dallardice. Maurizio was NEVER asked to reduce the quality of the ingredients at Paolo. He had complete carte-blanche as far as the running of the kitchen was concerned, including menus, suppliers and the ingredients used. In fact, quality was the only guideline that had been given.

Whilst I wish all the best to the Latium team, I find that giving out inaccurate information is both improper and extremely unfair. It is not necessary to throw mud at others in order to shine oneself.

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Natalia,

Thanks very much for your contribution. Please understand that I wrote what I was told and I understand that this may not necessarily be the truth.. there are many sides to every story.

I did like Paolo very much and was sorry when I heard that Maurizio had left. I was impressed by Latium but I also want to experience for myself what Paolo is like now; I look forward to my next visit there to see how Paolo has evolved too. Can you tell us how Paolo has moved on and what is the same, and what is different at Paolo?

I do wish the management and staff at Paolo all the best; it was not my intent to malign them.

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I look forward to my next visit there to see how Paolo has evolved too.  Can you tell us how Paolo has moved on and what is the same, and what is different at Paolo?

Dear Dallardice,

Thank you for your prompt reply. I do understand that you only wrote what you were told, but please understand our frustration when reading something that was untrue.

Thank you for expressing your interest in how Paolo is evolving.

To continue the quality tradition, we have hired Valerio Daros as the new Head Chef. Formerly the Head Chef of Timo in High St. Kensington, his past experience also includes 4 years at Zafferano, working with Giorgio Locatelli as his Sous Chef.

Valerio style has a more straightforward and classical approach to Italian cooking. Traditional dishes like Ossobuco and Lamb shank now feature in the new menu. The pasta dishes, breads and desserts are still homemade.

The management remains the same, and we are planning a refurbishment of the restaurant in the year 2004.

We are most welcome to experience Paolo again. We have a page in our website where you can post your feedback, which will be gladly appreciated.

Thank you,

Natalia

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Natalia, apologies for not responding to your posts sooner. I would like to echo Dallardice's thanks for your contribution, its always great when a "lurker" makes the leap and posts on the site, and especially in this case as we now have both sides of the story. Paolo website here.

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I wonder what "Latium" means.. probably Italian for "the worst meal I've had in London this year".

Upon sitting down we were told that "We 'ave 50% of the staff not 'ere tonight" and were served a plate of stale crostini.

We ordered prosecco and food. And waited.....

Our starters came, cauliflower soup with roquefort and truffle oil and the day's special of tagliatelli with wild mushroom. I stopped eating my starter after two spoonfuls, the roux had not been cooked out and was horrible. The waitress (having avoided my gaze for 20 minutes) took it away asking me "Was it OK?" (my only chance to pass comment) to which I replied "No, it was horrible" but she was halfway across the room and neither heard or, seemingly, cared.

And then we waited. We got quite excited when some food arrived. But it was for the table next to us and had been delivered to the wrong people.

Tagliatelli with hare was pedestrian and seared tuna with beans ("it is served medium rare") has been fried (slowly and badly) and left sitting under the pass (probably while the wrong food was served to us) The "tutti frutti" paired wine was served with the phrase "if you like it I'll tell you what it is" We never saw this man again.

The bill came, (after, you've guessed it, a long period of waiting) with a service charge of 12.5% which I was tempted to reduce to 6% given the level of understaffing and incompetence. It seemed only fair. But then I remembered it was Christmas. In the 20 minutes it took to bring the tab back I remembered this was was my special birthday dinner they had spoiled, but I reasoned the lack any repeat business from me was gift enough for them.

And then we went across to the Sanderson for cocktails, a place so soulless that it made me wish I still did drugs, as it would appear the only way to enjoy this place is when you're off your head on class As. My only Christmas wish is that Dean Gaffney had been there. It is his spiritual home.

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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  • 2 months later...

I've just had lunch at Latium - I started with really delicious pumpkin ravioli with sage butter.

Then roast lamb with sauté potatoes and grilled asparagus and a simple much reduced sauce. Nice to have such simple, good quality food on offer, though I would have preferred plain boiled to the sauté spuds - given there was a sauce on the plate they just got soggy. Some might have quibbled at the small portion but it was OK for me - and the breads were excellent.

Puddings were the weak point - all rather too rich/chocolatey - I had a rather dull baba with grandmarnier and hazelnut sauce. The ice creams would be a better choice.

I wasn't paying but it seemed reasonable at £79 for lunch for two with 2 glasses of champagne, water, 3 courses and coffee. The service was good - indeed they seemed to have more staff than were strictly necessary. I shall definitely return.

Edited by PoppySeedBagel (log)
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  • 7 months later...
I've just had lunch at Latium - I wasn't paying but it seemed reasonable at £79 for lunch for two with 2 glasses of champagne, water, 3 courses and coffee.  The service was good - indeed they seemed to have more staff than were strictly necessary.  I shall definitely return.

Thinking of going there for lunch today. Anyone tried it since February? Good or bad? I think he's a good chef, but postings have been decidedly mixed.

Thanks.

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No replies by the time I had to set off, so I went anyway.

Not bad, I thought. Service was fine; the manager was enthusiastic about the offering and knew his way round the wine list, which was 95% Italian and pretty interesting, if not particularly bargain-filled.

I had the usual "signature dish" four fish ravioli, from which (if memory serves - things got pretty hazy towards the end of the meal) the brill with saffron pasta and the tuna with tomato pasta were particularly good; the flavours sang and the pasta was perfectly al dente.

My host had a "special" of Tuscan salami wrapped round wild rocket, followed by the fish ravioli as a main course (they added one more of the saffron ravioli to make it main course portion, which didn't seem particularly generous).

We had a rather good Roero Arneis, new to the list, with the starters.

My main course was venison with chestnuts and the manager recommended a Puglian red to accompany it which was also available by the glass and which complemented the meat perfectly. If I had had a glass rather than most of a bottle I would probably be able to remember the name.

We skipped pudding but had excellent coffee.

My rather imprecise impression is that the chef is cooking as well here as he did at Ibla, Green Olive or Paolo and the prices are quite similar to the these. I'd go back. Service was both charming and efficient.

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  • 6 years later...

We continued our vacation eating marathon with dinner at Latium last night.

It's our Italian favourite in London. We passed the 100 visit mark this year and of course the treatment we experience reflects that, so I might be slightly partial (or addicted). We (almost) always get perfectly executed dishes and I don't know what variability the other customers experience. Then again variability is a risk everywhere for the anonymous punter: I was served a pasta with sarde inclusive of fish bones at the celebrated -and in my opinion overrated- Zafferano, and more recently plastic made it into a 2* dish (The Ledbury).

Anyway, assuming normal variability, I am convinced that sooner or later Michelin will recognise this as a 1* venue.

A brill with an artichoke sauce was moist inside, crispy outside, and overall stunning, the quality of the artichokes and of the perfumed, fragrant olive oil springing out. (Morelli is slighty obsessive about artichokes, they are typical of the region he comes from, and he searches for the best quality relentlessly - and this, incidentally, makes Andy Hayler's comment 'tagliatelli with artichoke had good pasta but suffered from grey, rather tasteless artichokes and was a little dry' slightly comical, as well as revealing, to us).

A second example of definite 1* quality dish: the Scallops wrapped in pancetta, resting on small fishcakes and accompanied by a generous parsley sauce, which looked beautiful and tasted better.

We also had:

- a risotto with Sicilian prawns (great sweet prawns and flavoursome fish stock, but the rice will be too crunchy for most, including Woman and me);

- a pasta with baby octopus and broccoli (best in class);

- a buffalo bresaola garnished with finely chopped celeriac (compted delicacy);

- a tiramisu (don't miss it if you go);

- their gelati selection (not quite as good as Bepi, but good enough for us to have it almost every time).

The quality of the raw materials here is as good as you will find at Locatelli or Zafferano or Semplice, but I would like to single out the 'Latium branded' olive oil, which is quite something.

The atmopshere is less sophisticated or glitzy than at the starred Italian London venues. While the room itself is elegant and regularly renovated, and the service is very professional (the head waiter starts describing the grape varieties of the wine as soon as you say its name, and all waiters understand and can explain the dishes), some clientele can sometimes be too noisy and boisterous, at least for our taste. (There used to be an annoying couple with the camera but they've given up now :smile:). I think the restaurant may suffer a little because of this. Or maybe we are just boring old farts.

We spent £130 for three courses each, including a £44 wine from Friuli whose name I forget, mineral water and 12.5% service. Three courses are £33.50, so with house wine one can eat for less than £100 for two. For the quality, this is total value for money.

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  • 11 months later...

One year later, sadly replying to myself, I'd like to reiterate that for me this remains the best place overall to experience true Italian flavours at a reasonable price. Highlights:

The quality of tagliolini with truffle was hardly beatable. I mean, this is a simple dish: if you have perfectly made pasta, a balanced condiment and a good truffle, literally not even a 3* chef can offer you a better version.

A raviolo filled with scallop, served with courgettes and clams in a clam broth made me smile as it brought to mind, by contrast, the oversalty clam broth we had been served at Hedone, and made me think that Jonsson would have one thing or two to learn from Morelli.

Red mullet was perfectly crispy outside and the Taggiasche olives, green cauliflower and sundried tomato sauce was very powerful, really stirring memories of flavours from home.

A simple cannolo Siciliano in orange sauce to conclude was heavenly with an almost painful sweet-and-sourly intensity.

The room was too noisy for me as always but the staff also sweet as ever (to regulars like me as to everybody else).

You will find a fuller report and (bad) pictures at my place, as well as an intemperate and vicious rant against the incredibly overvalued Zafferano and those who support it, if you are interested.

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We had lunch at Latium yesterday - on your recommendation man, as I confess I had never heard of it.

We had the set lunch of two courses for £16.50. The main of venison Ravioli with mushrooms and a herby jus had excellent flavour. The starter of a bean and squid soup was also tasty - the squid was beautifully cooked.

Definitely a place to give the full 'a la carte' a proper go.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I work just round the corner from Latium, and have been loads of times. I have never had a bad meal, and often some very good ones.

But curiously, I forget about it when asked which are my favourite restaurants, and despite the quality of the food, and its good value prix fixe, I never choose to go there myself. I think it's because the rooms itself is a little lacking in character. I don't think it's hard to get a table, so perhaps others feel this way too...

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I work just round the corner from Latium, and have been loads of times. I have never had a bad meal, and often some very good ones.

But curiously, I forget about it when asked which are my favourite restaurants, and despite the quality of the food, and its good value prix fixe, I never choose to go there myself. I think it's because the rooms itself is a little lacking in character. I don't think it's hard to get a table, so perhaps others feel this way too...

And poor Maurizio spent a lot of money refurbishing the room with the big window on the kitchen area - obviously to no avail :smile:

Actually, one criticism I have of Latium is not so much about the room which I neither like nor dislike, but about the clientele which is, in my opinion, sometimes a bit too rowdy, especially large tables (though probably not a problem lunchtime).

By the way, Morelli and the front room manager big 'Signor Umberto' are opening soon a new place in Marylebone. It will be simple Italian trattoria dishes and charcuterie, what am I doing, using a French term to mean 'salumeria' :wacko: , and their bread will be special (a specialist baker is coming straight from Italy).

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