I was excited about trying L’Anima, as it makes big claims about serving good higher-end contemporary Italian food – something that never fails to get me excited. It also boasts about a long list of awards, albeit all pre-2012.
I went there for a Christmas work do so I guess you need to take that into consideration. The experience of mass-production of food from a Christmas set menu is never the same as the free-choice smaller scale event. Nevertheless I think you can still get a view about a place if you eat there and get served by its people.
The food had ups and downs, whilst the seafood gnocchi starter was ok (if only a little cold), the venison main was delicious, very juicy and perfectly cooked. I am not a big fan of venison and I could have had another chunk. But like my colleague who was sitting near me, I needed more than one chestnut on the plate for it to truly evoke the Christmas spirit. The dessert was pretty as a picture but rather simple: a kind or parfait with mandarin on top, a chocolate shard and a citrusy sauce on the side. It was creamy and had the right balance of sweetness.
The restaurant felt somewhat impersonal probably because the room is too big and the noise from the other tables propagated freely. The service was the same – impersonal but efficient, nearly army-like. So in the end I felt the whole experience lacked a bit of warmth and ‘soul’, which is ironic since the name of the restaurant is ‘soul’ in Italian. It remains to be seen whether this experience was a result of the occasion. Should I even be reviewing this place on the back of a work Christmas do in the middle of December? I guess the jury is out on this one. The promise of good Italian food is certainly there. I am just not sure I will be back to find out whether it can deliver on it.
Where: London, City
Cuisine: Modern Italian
Occasion: Lunch or dinner
Price: Slightly expensive
Rating: 3.5 stars
Would I go again? Possibly