It’s amazing what happens when you decide to start writing a blog. Virtual friends unexpectedly turn into real ones, whom you meet for the first time at Margot, a glamorous Italian in Covent Garden. Although unlike a blind date where nerves and apprehension take over, this is more like meeting an old friend.
I’ve always found it fascinating how life helps you to gravitate towards like-minded people. Binny and Aftab have been supporting the Curious Pixie from its early days and we all thought it was high time we met up.
From the moment we arrived and spied the smartly dressed man in his bowler hat inviting us in, we knew we had arrived somewhere special. You can’t help but feel you’ve entered the glorious old school days of dining with the equally welcoming front of house, waiters in dinner jackets and dickie bows.
Paulo De Tarso and Nicolas Jaouën the duo behind the venture have stylishly transformed the two-floor restaurant into a luxe brassiere, with its plush midnight blue banquettes, copper detailing, crisp white linen, half-height curtains in the windows and flattering lighting.
The man in charge of the kitchen is Maurizio Morelli, delivering dishes from an extensive menu. It’s split into small plates, fromaggi, antipasti, crudi and secondi. The primi and insalate are available in two sizes, which pleased me and Binny greatly. Sometimes a big bowl of pasta no matter how yummy can be just too much.
Binny ordered a small plate of the Ubriaco all’Amarone, made from cow’s milk and aged in must of Amarone wine (£7.50). The delicate, creamy cheese was incredibly moreish and a generous portion for a small plate.
We moved straight to the mains on this occasion as we sat chatting and quaffing. Binny and I went for Ravioli di zucca e ricotta. The Delica pumpkin and ricotta ravioli was doused in sage butter and topped with toasted hazelnuts and Grana Padano (£11).
I was all over the buttery number, soft and deliciously sweet enough. The toasted hazelnuts provided a lovely texture against the smooth ravioli. And in the words of Paulo ‘it should on the desserts menu’. Lush!
Aftab ordered the Tonnarelli al tartufo norcino. The spaghetti-like pasta was flavoured with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, chilli and black truffle (£13.50). All my favourite flavours in a bowl. I did wonder ‘why the hell I didn’t order it?’ Next time.
We received such a warm welcome from Paulo and Nick. They joined us after we’d devoured our mains and regaled us with wonderful stories of how they entered the culinary world and the origins of the restaurant name. The namesake is Paulo’s mother-in-law, Margot, whose nickname translated into Dachshund due to her short legs, hence the logo too.
After a fascinating chat we decided desserts were in order. We all went for different ones, creating our very own Italian smorgasbord of sweet delights.
First up was the Baba al rum (£7), a light cake soaked in rum with tangerine cream and orange sauce. Now if you like rum, you’ll be in heaven. It’s drenched in the alcoholic syrup, I’m not a huge fan so the big rum hit was slightly wasted on me.
Being a cherry fiend I was very excited by the sound of the next one, a Cremoso al cioccolato ed amarene (£8.50). It was like a mini roll with an Italian makeover. The chocolate, morello cherry and rum cremeux was encased in a thin layer of chocolate and sat on top of a blood orange and Campari granita. A pure delight! The richness of the chocolate and cherry went well with the cool and fresh granita. This time the rum was not so overpowering, so it went down a treat.
Last but not least, the dessert that won the hearts of table was the Tiramisu (£6.50). Margot’s own take on the dessert with a chocolate heart and Amaretto sauce. The filling was more like an airy mousse and the flavours delicate, which I rather enjoyed.
If you’re after elegant service with a dash of old school charm and incredible Italian cuisine in fabulous surroundings, this is the place for you. Give Margot a whirl next time you find yourself in Covent Garden. You can thank me later.
Margot | 45 Great Queen Street |Covent Garden | London | WC2B 5AA
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