Jan 23 2013



L’Anima is an Italian restaurants next to Liverpool street station and it is always full of business people, it has a very big “work” atmosphere when you go there, and no wonder the Hardens guide has named this place as one of the top 10 business restaurants in London.  The main chef at L’Anima is Francesco Mazzei who has worked in many Italian and non-Italian restaurants in Italy as well as in London and in 2008 he opened L’Anima, which means “soul” in Italian. Since it first opened the restaurant has won many awards, including Time Out’s award for the Best New Italian Restaurant of 2009. L’Anima offers southern Italian fishes from Calabria, Puglia, Sicily and Sardinia, with some Moorish influences and according to their website this means “bold yet clean and distinct flavours”. Their ingredients are sourced both from Britain and Italy. The restaurant is located in a glass type of building so you can see very well from the outside everything that is going on inside, as the whole wall is just made out of glass, and this creates a very welcoming feeling. Inside the restaurant you have chrome and white chairs and square white tablecloth tables and brown walls and it does create a very specific type of atmosphere, everything is very light and bright inside and seems expensive which is probably why the city crowd likes it so much. The restaurant was apparently designed by Claudio Silvestrin and he tried to give guests the feeling of being “in a soulful, expressive place” which he achieves by using pure, clear, geometric forms. I personally am a bit confused why this place is “soulful” but the inside of the place is very pleasant. The menu is typical Italian with starters, main courses featuring fish and meat and pasta. When we arrived the waiters brought us a big bread basket that featured many different types of bread and they also brought us some olive oil and balsamico and the balsamico was great and super thick and felt expensive, and I loved dipping the bread into this. And I also loved the pizza type of bread they gave us in the breadbasket, it was very delicious. For the starter my friend Gregor chose the “beef carpaccio with truffle sauce and rocket salad” and I also wanted to order this at first but in the end I went for something I had not tried before, smoked cod, baccala which was served in 2 different ways with dried tomatoe, olives and a sauce on the bottom of the plate. Gregor’s carpaccio looked nice, a standard Italian carpaccio, there was nothing to fault in it, but also nothing that would make you go wow, and I have seen better presentations of this dish. The thing that stood out though was the price, and the carpaccio cost £18.5 and you can get the same type of carpaccio in other Italia restaurants for much cheaper, and on average the starters cost £17, which is extremely pricey even for London standards. My cod dish was interesting and I have not had anything like this before and it had a strong, bold flavour, although it did not completely get me excited. The main courses were even more expensive at an average price of £25. For the main course I wanted pasta with meat, although the menu featured some interesting fish pasta options, like lobster spaghetti and linguine with crab and chilli, but I went for the chestnut pappardelle with boar ragout and Gregor chose one of the specials of the day which the waitress had earlier explained to us, turbot with clams and other types of seafood covered with thin layers of potatoes and served in a little cute pan. My pasta dish had a very strong bold flavour (which is what Francesco is trying to create), the chestnut pappardelle was very pretty and it was large sheets of pasta in a very interesting greenish colour with beef ragout and topped with some olives and basil. They did give you a lot of beef ragout and I had some left in the end as I could not finish all the ragout and I had run out of pasta. And whilst it was very flavoursome, once again I was not completely blown away and it just felt like something was missing, but I can’t really explain what. Gregor really liked his turbot and it was nicely presented, and then again for £28 it should have been. We also had some desert to finish our meal, Gregor went for a vanilla panna cotta with coffee spumone and I chose a spicy pineapple and sorbet dessert, and the presentation of the deserts was excellent and they were prettier than the rest of the food we had. My pineapple was great sweet and spicy at the same time, very lovely desert. I think L’Anima is a great Italian restaurant, but I think it is a bit too expensive for what it serves, as you can get same price dishes for cheaper, and also even though the flavours are very strong and great, for me it did feel like something was missing, and I cant say that it was one of the best Italian meals I have had. Having said that the whole combination of the light and pretty dining room, the nice quality and tasty food make this a wonderful lunch spot. I will be coming back, but more for work than for pleasure.

Location: Liverpool Street
Price for 2, no alcohol and service charge: 140.57
Date: 23/01/13

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1 Snowden Street EC2A 2DQ
United Kingdom
L'Anima Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3.5