Menu advisor Aldo Zilli proclaimed his £2 million restaurant ‘the most beautiful in London’

Fumo Covent Garden

Open Mon–Thu 8am–11.30pm, Fri–Sat 8am–midnight and Sun 8am–10.30pm

The blurb

The Distefano family’s multi award-winning restaurant group opened Fumo Covent Garden, their third London restaurant, this autumn. The 130-cover restaurant boasts a sleek design with a solid marble bar, a cicchetti (Venetian small plates) menu using seasonal ingredients – mostly sourced direct from produce markets in Milan, and a fab Italian wine list to match.

The style

Menu advisor Aldo Zilli proclaimed his £2 million restaurant ‘the most beautiful in London’. The windows, with an octopus displayed on ice, and ham hocks hanging from above, attracts plenty of attention while inside, it’s all cossetting lighting, luxurious marble, cream leather and sexy latticing.

The crowd

Expect to spot a footballer or celeb. Dame Barbara Windsor and Strictly Come Dancing star Giovanni Pernice were among the first guests. However, merely monied international groups and solo businessmen, couples and small parties dined during our visit.

The food

Attentive, confident Italian staff let us know that the cicchetti dishes were medium-sized so we ordered five, which proved plenty: fillet of beef medallions (which arrived perfectly rare as requested; £13.95); queen scallops (£10.95); pumpkin-stuffed saffron risotto with peppers, crispy parmesan and black truffles (£11.95); spinach and ricotta ravioli (£8.95); and grilled aubergine with mint chilli, garlic and buffalo mozzarella (£8.95).

It was a play-it-safe menu – the aubergine salad with its piquant dressing was the most interesting; the risotto was slightly overpowered by the saffron; and the ravioli was a little bland. The tiramisu (£6.95) was excellent and perfect for sharing.

The drink

We kicked off with an Italian aperitif, Aperol spritz, which arrived in solid crystal tumblers. We then moved onto a glass of grillo bianco (£4.90 for 125 ml) and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Illuminati (£5.50 for 125 ml) from the regional wine list, which had plenty of choice at various prices.

In a nutshell

Fumo isn’t the place to bring foodie-trail types, who would find the food forgettable. But when you’re entertaining less adventurous palates, this warmly-lit, glam and boisterous room with its brigade of charming Italian waiters is a crowd-pleaser.

Fumo, 37 St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4ER;; 020 3778 0430

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