Friday, September 18, 2009

It's all business at L'Anima, The City

I love eating out at nice places but sometimes I feel the atmosphere can err towards overbearing. After all, I work in the wonderful world of "meeja" so dont often have the need of a jacket, or looking smart in general.

Walking into L'Anima, located right in the heart of the city, I had tried to look smart but felt totally out of place, even with my jacket and shirt (cufflinks included). It seemed pretty clear that plenty of the city's expense accounts were being spent on L'Animas vast menu.

The interior certainly matches the clientele. Clean, sophisticated and oozing money. The menu is comprehensive, dishes originating from all over Italy and what jumps out is the cost, a good meal here is going to rack up the pounds. However, they do have a very appealing lunch menu, three courses for £26.50, pretty reasonable, if somewhat limited. I opted to add an additional pasta course. After all, I couldn't visit an Italian restaurant without trying their pasta, could I?

Starter - Spring Vegetable Passata and Bruschetta with Parmigiana

Spring Vegetable Passata and Bruschetta with Parmigiana
A bit odd that this was a "Spring" vegetable passata considering it was the middle of Summer. Having said that, the passata was light and summery. Each mouthful contained different veggie notes, with hints of celery, peas and broad beans. The cheesy bruschetta acted like a large crouton, good contrast in textures and the salty tang of the parmigiana was the perfect accompaniment to the passata.

Pasta - Wild Mushroom Tagliatelle with truffles

Wild Mushroom Tagliatelle with truffles
Wow, thats a lot of truffles. I've never been that enamoured with truffles, and unfortunately, this dish isn't going to change my opinion. I don't really think they added much although the dish itself was great. The pasta was delicious and steeped in flavour, almost as if they were cooked in a savoury broth. The wild mushrooms were also delicious, spreading their deep and earthy flavours throughout the dish.

Main - Lemon and Thyme Poussin with olive oil mash

Lemon and Thyme Poussin with olive oil mash
This was a nice if rather average dish. The poussin was exceptionally cooked. It was still moist with a crisp skin. The lemon and thyme added a very subtle flavour to the poussin, but nothing which lit up my tastebuds. The olive oil mash didn't really work for me. Why mess with a thing of beauty by chucking a load of olive oil into it?

Dessert - Cappuccino Tiramisu

Cappuccino Tiramisu
A good finish to a pleasant meal. It was a bit sloppy, but the strong hit of coffee went gloriously with the lashings of cream. The highlights were definitely the chocolate crisp atop the tiramisu, a wonder of culinary engineering, and the incredibly light meringue like biscuit.

Hmm, this is a tough one. I enjoyed the food, but was not blown away. After all the chatter within the food community, I was expecting fireworks but what I got was a good feed in a somewhat sterile environment. The waiters could definitely do with flashing a smile every now and then, although you cannot question their ruthless efficiency. I will definitely try L'Anima again, probably for dinner, and definitely with a bigger budget so I can try a few of the more adventurous dishes on the menu. To be continued...

L'Anima (website) - 1 Snowden Street, Broadgate West, EC2A 2DQ

L'Anima on Urbanspoon


S said...

I'm questioning their ruthless efficiency!

TEN MINUTES between first main course to arrive at our table and the third main course to arrive at our table (which I had to ask for, by which time my pasta had gone cold).

No apology either, though strangely tables around us weren't having the same issues. Is it because we didn't order wine? Or is it because we were the scruffiest scruffs in there?

Lunch deal sounds very good value, though my (cold) main wasn't worth its high price. I'd give it another go for lunch, but probably won't be back for dinner.

Lizzie said...

I quite liked that mushroom truffle dish at Taste, but their other dishes left me unexcited. I always find dinner menus much more interesting than their cheaper set menus.

An American in London said...

To echo Lizzie's point (and having eaten both lunch and dinners there), I think L'Anima's lunch menu isn't half as tasty or interesting as the dinner menu. Also, while the crowd at dinner is still well-heeled, the atmosphere is more relaxed and fun in the evening.

So perhaps give the dinner a try. I've been craving their fritto misto lately and think that dish alone justifies a return trip.

tehbus said...

@s Shame to hear that your service was dubious at best. It can really take the glean off a good evening, even if the food is good.

@Lizzie and AAIL - I haven't written off L'Anima, I love Italian food and as soon as I have saved up my pennies I will be back for dinner!

Helen said...

Yes I also enjoyed that mushroom dish but it was certainly a stand out dish - the others were a bit dull. I'd be interested to see their dinner menu but having read such conflicting reviews it isn't exactly at the top of the list.

Helen @ World Foodie Guide said...

That's how I felt about dinner at L'Anima. My expectations were too high after hearing so much hype. As a result, I left feeling slightly underwhelmed. I mean, everything was delicious and I was shown the kitchen and the wine cellar and the private dining room. Perhaps it was the clientele? Can't quite put my finger on it...

Niamh said...

Interesting review. I am very keen to try it. Shame about the lunch menu, I know they're often less interesting but they shouldn't be.

An American in London said...

World Foodie Guide - what do you mean by "Perhaps it was the clientele"?

S said...

@Lizzie and AAIL it was dinner I had - but I'm a big ol' dessert girl and there wasn't anything on the dessert menu that jumped out and said "eat me" - but then maybe it was just the kind of desserty item I was after (there didn't seem to be many warm options).

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