L’Anima: Italian Cuisine without soul
After reading positive reviews of L’Anima I expected something pretty sublime but was sorely disappointed by very bland food, without attention to detail or the fastidiousness I expect from an award-winning dining venue. The sheer elegance promised on the site cannot readily substitute the finest authentic Italian cuisine.
The restaurant is located close to Liverpool Street station and brimming with business types stopping for a spot of lunch or a business meeting. Decor is muted and elegant but the venue lacks atmosphere and conviviality, despite playing host to a number of diners.
Chef Francesco Mazzei has previously occupied a chef position at The Dorchester and occupied the same role at other prestigious locations. L’Anima has racked up so many restaurant awards my expectations were stratospheric, but I left feeling baffled rather than blown away.
Starters range from £12-26 and mains from £13.50-£32.50. The bar set menu offers two courses for £16.50 or three for £19.50. The menu is not particularly varied or innovative but will set you back as much as London’s other fine dining establishments.
Puglia olives and bread were passable but not perfect and a glacial atmosphere set the scene for the rest of a distinctly underwhelming meal. (12/20)
The spinach tortelli with stracciatella, ricotta, brown butter, hazelnuts and aged balsamic was relatively average in both its presentation and general appeal. Pasta was a tad too al dente, there was a distinct lack of flavour and I couldn’t really discern any superior taste as compared to a standard high street Italian. I sat for a moment waiting for an explosion of flavour or a hint of the soul L’Anima promises in its authentic Italian cuisine, but it was simply not present. 12/20
I have to confess, I am addicted to the pork belly offered by the prestigious and highly celebrated Pollen Street Social, critics favourite The Ledbury and my latest Italian gem, Bacco London. Thus I expected great things but as is so often the case, even in Michelin restaurants I was presented with a very tough slow roasted pork belly (9/20). I failed to get past this so I won’t mention the accompanying ribs, but rapidly returned my dish in favour or an aubergine parmigiana. Suddenly I was overcome with memories of the poor execution this dish so often receives and my fears were justified. The meal was lifeless, dull and a teenager without any cooking savvy could have conjured it in less than the time it took to receive the substitute main. (7/20)
A lacklustre meal, with effort traded for ponce and modernist elegant decor cannot substitute genuinely good cuisine. I will go back in a bid to lift the score in case I simply had a bad experience, but would swiftly recommend other outlets for high quality Italian cuisine in London. It’s not terrible or even bad, but it’s just not great either. L’Anima is Italian for soul, but this soul-less food is masquerading as something sublime and this lauded venue has yet to impress me.
Cost: Starters range from £12-26 and mains from £13.50-£32.50. The bar set menu offers two courses for £16.50 or three for £19.50.
Telephone: 020 7422 7000
Address: L’Anima, 1 Snowden Street, Broadgate West, London, EC2A 2DQ
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, Lunch – 11.45 am – 3 pm, Dinner – 5.30 pm – 11 pm, Saturday from 5.30pm – 11.30 pm
For more information see www.lanima.co.uk