Although I haven’t been blogging over the last few months, I’ve still been doing a pretty good job of eating (something which came as a relief as I’d heard that some ladies go right off their food during pregnancy). I had some fab meals in Edinburgh last weekend, which I will shortly tell you about but before racing ahead, I wanted to go back over my photos to see what stood out as my best meals of late 2013/early 2014. Surprisingly, the first one to jump out was Cafe Murano.
Given my lack of twitter use at the time, I almost completely missed the opening of Angela Hartnett’s latest Italian in mid November. I missed the soft launch all together but when I did hear that it was opening I managed to snap up a table for lunch on opening day.
To be honest, I think going on opening day was a mistake.
Cafe Murano was billed as the baby sister of the wonderful Michelin-starred Murano, offering rustic dishes in a relaxed cafe setting at affordable prices. Relaxed, rustic, affordable – what’s not to love?! I adore Murano but it’s both pricey and formal, which is often not what I’m looking for, so this place sounded perfect.
The food was delicious and faultless, which is the main thing and the reason it is getting a write up on here but unfortunatley the rest left a lot to be desired. The service was patchy, there was limited atmosphere as the restaurant didn’t get more than half full and I was surprised to notice that when people did start to arrive, the average age was about 60 (not that I’m ageist – I’m just used to more of a mix). I certainly didn’t feel the “relaxed cafe vibe” and at £18 for a main course, it may be less than Michelin star prices but I think they are playing a bit fast and loose with the word affordable.
At the time, despite the wonderful food, all of this put me off going back in a hurry. However, I’ve seen countless glowing reviews since then, none of which mention these problems, so I’m putting it down to opening day niggles and will be back to sample that delicious food. Just don’t be fooled by the name, this really isn’t an affordable cafe, white tablecloths or not, it’s an upmarket Italian suitable for any special occasion.
We had an excellent start with some springy, light focaccia, dipped in fruity extra virgin olive oil and rich truffle laced arancini balls.
The highlights from the rest of the meal were the octopus, chickpea and pesto soup, which my husband wolfed down with a very large smile on his face and the vitello tonnato (veal with tuna sauce) that my mother in law insisted we all try because it was so delicious. Then came the pasta, there really is nothing better than fresh pasta when it is made this well. Wild boar fettuccine. Wow!
Even with the lack of atmosphere and the shaky service, Cafe Murano could not possibly score less than 8/10. The food is just too good. Plus, if you are looking for something more along the lines of an affordable cafe, they now have a set lunch and pre theatre deal – 3 courses for £22 – which might just tick that box.