Eats and treats

L’Anima Café – London

A friend and I had arranged to meet for a glass of prosecco at L’Anima Café in Appold Street, London EC2 not long after it opened last summer.

We are both devotees of the main L’Anima restaurant just round the corner and under the direction of the charming Francesco Mazzei. His full of flavour, rustic but refined dishes, are our idea of heaven. So we were interested to see what this new enterprise was like.

Spacious – immediately sprang to mind – very spacious, and divided up into several components: in the front half a large bar, to one side tables and to the other a lounge-style seating area.

Behind the bar area chefs were preparing pizza dough prior to baking it in the pizza oven. Further down the long room more tables and the Deli section complete with a take-away service option, chairs and communal tables for customers eating in, and the Deli itself, its shelves obviously destined for olive oil, pasta, bread and other goodies.

Six months later we were back but this time for lunch. Declining the excellent looking bread basket one of us chose aubergine parmigiana (£9.50) as a starter whilst the other went for the grilled calamari (£9.75) both were good.

We both enjoy pizzas so decided to forget diets and indulge. I chose a ham, cheese and mushroom calzone (£12) whilst my friend went for a pizza topped with cheese, hand-made sausage and broccoli (£11).

They were good; but neither were rave-worthy – the mushrooms made my exceedingly well-filled calzone a bit soggy and the pizza topping was considered a tad meagre and bland, next time we will try something like the Hunter Rabbit Stew, which looked great!

No problems with dessert – a scrummy lemon tart and a feather-light rum baba. We shared a half-ltr carafe of house wine (£12). No problem with the service either – efficient and charming.

We both agreed that if we worked in the City of London – L’Anima Café could well become our favourite haunt – morning coffee, lunch either in its main restaurant or the less expensive but stylish Deli section, or even just for a glass of something before heading home. For food, ambience, service, general options – a score of 8.5. 

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