37 St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4ER
Chefs Filippo Pagani and Franco Bellamusto
September 2016

Fumo Covent Garden is the third Fumo offering by the San Carlo group, and the first in London. It offers a truly enormous menu (A3 with tiny print) consisting of small Italian plates, or “cicchetti”, made using “the finest ingredients from Milan”.

The Italian tapas idea is nothing new to London and has many strong contenders, so Fumo will have to bring something special to get customers through the door.

From the get-go the experience was mixed: great window display and service, but a disproportionately austentatious and dated interior. Given the size of menu it was impossible to get a decent cross-section of dishes, so we opted to stick to the basics (which one would expect a bonafide Italian restaurant would get right, and which Fumo unfortuantely did not).

There was only one dish that I would re-order, with the rest being mediocre or borderline bad.

Food: 5 / 10

Bruschetta, Sicilian Pachino tomatoes, garlic and basil
The only real flavour here was the tomatoes – strong, aromatic and delicious – but unfortunately they were over-salted, bringing down a nice dish to plain mediocre.

Sicilian arancini
A solid performance: crispy, not too stodgy, with well-balanced wine and cheese notes from the risotto. The ragu needed more punch as it got lost in the mix.

Passatelli pasta, asparagus, fennel, peas, mint, broad beans, mascarpone and pine nuts
A good combination that suffered from poor execution. The fennel and mint acted as bystanders to the overused mascarpone. However the most disappointing aspect of this dish was that the passatelli was not fresh and had been overcooked.

Pollo parmigiana pizza – smoked chicken, mozzarella, parmesan and fresh basil
With the bland chicken and sparse basil this turned out to just be stodgy cheesy bread.

This was the highlight of the meal – the meatballs and sauce were kept simple and full of flavour.

Spinach, garlic and chilli
I’m not sure what had been done to the spinach to make it come out so dense and dry. The rest of the flavours came as advertised, so it was a shame to be let down by the main dish constituent.

Service: 7 / 10

Polite, quick and efficient, though there was a poor female hawker outside that was totally out of keeping with the rest of the restaurant.

Price point: High street

If you are spending more than £25 a head you’ll roll home.

In conclusion:
Fumo would have been a welcome addition to the high street 10 years ago but falls short of the standards set by its competition (Polpo comes to mind). Even amongst the high street crowd there was nothing particular to recommend it and, off my own volition, I would not return.

One of many bruschetta variations on the enormous menu
The Pollo Parmigiano pizza tasted as stodgy and cheesy as it looks
Once we’d recovered from the presentation, we were able to enjoy the very yummy arancini
Passatelli pasta with every green ingredient in the kitchen
The delicious polpette served in flavourful tomato sauce


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s