Have you ever experienced the moment, the exact moment when you realised that you had a problem? The micro-split-second in time when the penny drops. Because for those of you who’ve ever had a problem, you all know that it doesn’t matter how much anyone else tells you you have a problem, the penny just doesn’t drop until well, it drops. And when it does, you check yourself into an institution.
So last Friday I’m heading out to meet Charmaine for lunch at L’Anima. Lunch was at 1pm and I was meant to take off at 12.30pm, giving me plenty of time to get myself there but as Murphy would have it, one work call followed another and before I knew it, time was a-ticking past 12.45pm and I Was Going To Be Late.
And I don’t do late.
I dashed out of the office, flinging on my trusty black wool coat (because yes, it’s now wool-coat cold, although I am not yet ready to admit defeat to my Michelin man inspired duvet coat) and throwing myself in front of any old cab that would have me. Lucky, turns out one would have me and I’m soon hurtling towards Liverpool street, catching my breath and blotting my oil-spilled t-zone in the back seat.
As the cab pulls up at Snowden Street, I shove some cash through the teensy little window and jump out of the cab, half running towards the restaurant.
It’s 1pm On The Dot. I’ve made it. I’m not late and I’m – –
– – wait a minute. What’s this? Is this really where we’re having lunch? This stunning, expansive, naturally lit restaurant with floor to ceiling glass panels? All this light! The illuminated ambience of L’Anima stole my breath and as I’m lead to our table, I’m in awe of the amazing lighting.
I sit down, I hardly even notice that Charmaine is already sitting there right in front of me because I’m so incredibly excited that this brilliant natural light? It’s going to be awesome for my food photos.
The penny just dropped.
And hi, my name is cat, and I have a problem.
And yes, I do have a problem, but honestly, don’t you see how lovely all these dishes look? Charmaine started with the black angus beef carpaccio with homemade pickles & pecorino di moliterno, the thin red slivers of beef succulent and tasty.
I had the charcoal scallops with n’duja & salsa verde, three fat juicy scallops ensconced in one half-shell. Which begs the question, what do they do with the other half-shells? Who knows, who cares.
We ordered the same main – wild mushroom fettucine with black truffle, which looked more like we had a little bit of fettucine to go with our truffle. The mushroom made this dish super tasty, although to be very perfectly honest, for the amount of truffle lathered across the dish, there wasn’t a very strong flavour at all.
And dessert. Wow dessert. Trusty food advisor Kang had recommended that we try the zabayon (or zabaglione), an Italian wine custard. This particular dessert was a liquorice zabayon with coffee & star anise ice cream. I can barely begin to describe the taste sensation except to say you probably have to like both liquorice and coffee flavours to enjoy this dessert and if you do? It Will Blow Your Mind.
More like a thickly blended coffee/liquorice froth, the zabayon is smooth and delectable on the palate, with the star anise ice cream an interesting flavour combination. The zabayon is also topped (and bottomed) with crystalised honeycomb, giving the dessert a perfectly sweet finish.
We also shared a panna cotta with ‘uva fragola’ (strawberry grapes) which was fine but a drastic disappointment next to the zabayon, not in the least because we were curious about the uva fragola – would they look like strawberries? or grapes? – which turned out to be mushed, so the answer was neither. The panna cotta itself was also tiny, although the texture was incredible.
Anyway food schmood, Charmaine scharmaine – ok you know I didn’t mean that *big hug* – I just LOVED how the entire L’Anima dining room was drenched in beautiful natural light! And even if you’re into the doom and gloom of dungeon dining, I stole a peek at L’Anima’s private dining room and it too is elegant, if not a little dark.
And really, we’re heading into the depths of winter here. When the clocks turn back in a couple of weeks it will be dusk AT 3PM so please, humour me and let me be obsessed with light for now. I’ll go to therapy later.
1 Snowden Street
London, EC2A 2DQ
0207 422 7000