Margot London is a newly opened Italian restaurant in the heart of Covent Garden and is sure to impress the boss, says Amelia Walker
Lovely, wonderful Margot. For those who hanker after white tablecloths and chipper front-of-house staff who do things properly, this establishment is for you.
Bang in the heart of London, here’s a great new address for fancy business lunches or dinners, or if you find yourself in the West End pre or post-theatre. This newbie is handsomely kitted out with the sexiest leather banquettes (perfect for hot dates and up-to-no-good afternoon gossiping), plus soft lighting and is discreet and classy.
Executive Chef Maurizio Morelli heads up the kitchen of Paulo de Tarso and Nicolas Jaouën’s venture. So, what about the actual food? The menu brims with promise, with many of the courses available as both a starter and main – ideal for diners like me who want the best of both but can never decide between two.
My companions and I have opted to go with the recommendations of our waiter, who tells us: “Chef expresses his skills best in the mains, which you can also have as starters.” We begin with his suggestion of a simple 30 month cured Parma ham, sliced oh so finely and perfectly cooked, as well as absurdly ‘light’ Gramigna pasta with homemade sausage and mushrooms, and the taglionlini with Sicilian red prawns to share, deftly seasoned for destruction.
Mains of robust baked veal ossobuco, saffron risotto ‘alla Milanese’ and veal jus plus a seared fillet of red mullet with squid ink dressing follow – and are light and excellent. A juicy slab of suckling pork belly is lasciviously soft. Our party ends up sharing plates, unable to decide which is the winner. Looks can be deceiving; the plates look rich in flavour and size but in fact leave me feeling comfortable and not weighed down at all.
Our waiter insists on us trying a selection of desserts despite our feeble protests and he soon arrives with a chocolate, Morello cherry and rum cremeux, blood orange and Campari granite, which is rich and decadent. My favourite, the rum baba, tangerine cream and orange sauce is tangy and sharp, and the Gianduja mousse, mixed berries poached in Cassis and chocolate sorbet finishes us off. We concede. No more.
Margot is one of those restaurants I will now dish out as a tip when asked for recommendations for an all-round dining experience (FYI – private dining options are available for parties of eight or more). The super wine is worth a standalone visit itself – any restaurant that proudly displays used bottles in the form of art has my heart. Note that bottles here don’t come cheap – stick to a large glass and you’ll save a significant amount.
The brunch menu, I have heard from an associate, is one to tick off on the weekend hit-list. Plates of Italian lemon crepes with wild berries and mascarpone, and fried eggs with burrata and finocchiona Toscana salami on a Saturday morning sound like a treat in themselves should you wish to simply swing by and informally sit up at the buzzy bar. Britain’s great love affair with Italian dining remains true here.
For assistants looking for a smart restaurant that isn’t stupidly expensive and will impress the boss and any company clients, Margot is sure to make a good impression.
The number one factor for me when booking somewhere is first and foremost the service, which was brilliant here. Staff were attentive, friendly and professional. If I was to book the downstairs for a private party I’d feel confident that my boss and guests would be taken care of and things would run smoothly.
The menu is varied, with the go-to standard Italian favourites mixed with alternative dishes. My red mullet was so good and the chocolate desserts far too moreish. The sommelier knows his stuff; my glass was never empty.
Its location in Covent Garden is central and is a refreshing option away from the more obvious restaurants and bars around the main tourist square.
J Wood, Freelance PA
What we ate
30-month cured Parma ham – £8
Gramigna pasta with homemade sausage and mushrooms – £9.50
Tagliolini with Sicilian red prawns – £13.50
Seared fillet of red mullet – £22
Baked veal ossobuco, saffron risotto ‘alla Milanese’ – £28
Roast suckling pork belly – £22
Chocolate, Morello cherry and rum cremeux – £8.50
Rum baba, tangerine cream – £7
Gianduja mousse, mixed berries poached in Cassis – £8.50
45 Great Queen St, London WC2B 5AA; 020 3409 4777; margotrestaurant.com