You leave home and it's hot and sunny. Half an hour later, you find yourself sopping wet in a singlet top and sandals with no brolly. The English summer claims another victim. But not quite... Because when the doorway into which you duck to escape the sudden inconvenient downpour on a Saturday afternoon happens to belong to Angela Hartnett's Murano, it's only natural that you keep walking all the way in. The £30 lunch menu and spare table at the side of the room seemed beacons of fate.
The room is elegant, if a little hotel foyer-like, but the energetic chatter from the floor cuts through the boring formality that might otherwise set in. Posited in the moneyed up heart of Mayfair, you get the feeling that most of the crowd live in a trendy little mews somewhere not far off Park Lane.
It's seriously hard to choose from the Italian menu where everything sounds appetising, although quite a few dishes didn't live up to expectations - my fresh tagliatelle with Ligurian sausage and tomato tasted watery and monotone, and my porcetta carpaccio, though pretty, didn't move the earth for me.
TPG's entree serving of risotto with brown onion, parmesan and truffle oil was better, nay perfect, and he immediately positioned it above my favourite truffle risotto at Gauthier Soho. Tender steak bavette with sweet corn salsa was lovely, if not a patch on the flavoursome steaks of Goodman and Hawksmoor.
Dessert was where our meal really hit its straps with a dreamy custard tart and a cold chocolate fondant worth writing home about - the latter accompanied by an addictive sour cream ice cream, thick, oozy salted caramel sauce and heavenly little crispy chocolate bits lining the plate.
The wine list is expensive, but we had a lovely glass each for £6.50 and £8.50 respectively - this is not somewhere you need be afraid of the "cheapies" on the list. You also get lots of lovely amuses and freebies along the way - although none so perfect as the little bowl of cherries at the end.
A good value way to try a Michelin star restaurant, but not one I'll be hurrying back to for repeat visits.
Murano, 20 Queen Street, Mayfair, London W1J 5PP (Tel: 020 7495 1127)