Murano was the restaurant that, like sub-prime lending to the global economy, nearly brought the GLC to its knees.
Our previous outing had been to Le Gavroche, which while unforgettable, had entirely rinsed our financial reserves. So, as fellow GLC-er Gary passed me the baton for next choice of restaurant, the message echoed that of the outgoing Labour Treasury Secretary to his incoming Tory counterpart: “Sorry, there’s no money left”. The remit, therefore, was simple – stay in budget! That’s still £100 a head. It shouldn’t be difficult.
And Murano seemed to fit the bill (no pun intended), without compromising the lofty food standards we were getting used to. Within its walls, Ramsey protege Angela Hartnett creates stunning modern Italian dishes at a keen £65 for 3 courses.
And the food was, we all agreed the following morning, very special indeed. Just don’t ask me for specifics. Like greedy bankers doubling down on derivatives, we abandoned fiscal caution just seconds after sitting down, plumping for 5 courses. Also, like greedy bankers, we bookended our evening with a phalanx of dirty martinis and fine port, with countless bottles of ballsy Italian red in between.
Fine Italian dining
I can recall some punchy John Dory, some delicately executed lamb, I think a rosewater pannacotta, and, perhaps most surprisingly, I remember that we stumbled en masse into the kitchen, at the invitation of our quite fantastic waitress to meet Angela herself, who gave us far more time and attention than we probably warranted.
We tramped back to our table, all aglow with good-will only to be presented with the kind of bill that brought the Greek population out onto the streets. Unlike the Greeks though, we couldn’t just turn to Germany and ask if they could lend us a few hundred quid to tide us over until pay day. So, we all had to dip into our own pockets, spend the family housekeeping and, the following morning, explain it to/ hide it from the wives.
Still, when all’s said and done, four hours sitting in Murano, eating, imbibing and denying financial reality was totally worth the subsequent austerity. Much like the fun times leading up to the global financial crisis. Wouldn’t change a thing. Metaphor over.
20 Queen Street
020 7495 1127
We spent: £84 p.p.
Nearest tube: Green Park