Review: L’Anima

Published: 25 August 2015

We rediscover the culinary brilliance that is L’Anima, and remind ourselves why it’s still one of the best Italian restaurants in London.

On the corner of Snowden Street, L’Anima is satisfying the taste-buds of the local business elite and arguably setting the standard di Italiano with his excellent Italian eatery, L’Anima. Having had the pleasure to dine at L’Anima Café (his less formal equivalent) previously, it’s safe to say that both restaurants offer inspired, authentic, and remarkably different Italian fare. 

L’Anima’s ‘austere surroundings’ portray a minimalist elegance with stark white decor and simple touches. Surprisingly, with the addition of friendly waiting staff, the overall feel of the restaurant is comparatively laid back to the trendy L’Anima Café. The chairs are spongy and the dimly lit space offers an escape after a hard day’s work.

After the mandatory glass of Prosecco, we made our selections and the courses began to fly out out of the kitchen. Unlike L’Anima Café, which offers a more traditional Italian culinary experience, the food here is complex and innovative. 

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Our starters were Stuffed Courgette Flowers with Baccala (a dried salt cod used as seasoning), Scallops and Salsa Verde, and Poached Lobster Catalana accompanied by Quinoa Salad. The latter offered clean and fresh flavours whilst the former was buttery and rich. Tantalising and punchy, the small portions enabled us to taste plenty with room left for the next courses.

For secondi, we shared duck pappardelle and crab taglierini. The pasta dishes were small bowlfuls of decadence – portion controlled, but so flavoursome. The duck was excellent: the hunks of meat were tender and well seasoned, while the pasta was al dente and coated top to toe in the thick ragu. The crab taglierini was good, although it had a little too much dill for my liking, but was still refreshingly light and well conceived.

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Then onto mains: we went for one fish dish and one meat to share. The fregola fish stew was wonderful: Sardinian fregola – which is similar in texture to cous cous but has more bite – is added to bulk out the stew, while the sauce was moorish and well seasoned. The beef – fanning from little marrow bone trunks – was buttery and pink. Combined with bone marrow and a dusting of blue cheese, it was incredibly powerful and indulgent, comprising of all of my favourite things. 

Despite eating three courses (and a whole bread basket) each, we plumped for three desserts. First was the Cupolone (Chocolate Dome), which features on accomplished menus across London in various guises. It did not disappoint: molten caramel melts a dark chocolate dome revealing a hazelnut and chocolate parfait inside. Next was a lemon soufflé, perfectly light and fragrant with bite size pieces of lemon rind running throughout. Third was a more refreshing pud of meringue with tropical sorbet. Both sweet and sharp it felt cleansing and finished our feast off beautifully. Full and deliriously happy (the wine pairings throughout definitely took hold), we hopped in a cab and fell into bed dreaming of L’Anima. 

1 Snowden St, EC2A 2DQ
020 7422 7000

www.lanima.co.uk

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