We had an hour to fill before catching ENO’s excellent production of Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice and with Fumo doing small plates virtually next door it seemed the ideal venue. Fumo is full on Italian – gold everywhere like a Pharaoh’s tomb. Where you can’t see gold you either see white marble streaked with gold or yourself in a gold-framed mirror. I half expected Denize to come back from the loo looking like Shirley Eaton.
As well as gold Fumo specialises in profusion. The profusion of decoration itself is backed up by a profusion of waiters, who couldn’t act more Italian; had I raised my hand I expected the nearest to fall to the floor clutching his face, waving an imaginary yellow card at a referee.
Such profusion, however, seems paltry when put alongside the profusion of menus. Yes, Fumo is a killer of trees on an epic scale. There’s a big à la carte menu, there’s a drinks menu, there’s a cocktail menu, there’s a specials menu, there’s a set menu. And quite possibly a menu menu to browse the menus should you be unable to cope with all the individual menus simultaneously.
We studied the set menu. Our waiter promised us they specialised in Italian tapas. Tapas, of whichever national cuisiine they are branded under around these parts (by which I mean the West End, not Fumo specifically) generally means main course prices for starter course sizes. So the set menu offering four dishes for 30-odd quid seemed the way ahead.
It being a night out we started with a cocktail each (Negroni for me, excellently put together and lots of ice) and some olives on the side. The olives were supersized in flavour and um, size and rolled in with a tapenade and some crunchy stuff to stick that on. Good thing.
Then the main food – excellent pizza topped with noticeably good mushrooms and ham, okay calamari (a title Radiohead left in the scraps bin), perfectly salt-baked sea bass (with no garnish), and a high quality caprese salad. All of which was made with care and using very good ingredients, so I’ve no complaints about the food.
Nor the service – being amply supplied with waiters it took no time for us to settle the bill and hit the street to Gluck heaven. But having dropped ninety quid in an hour for just enough food for a moderately sized couple I realised that Fumo’s dictator-chic interior is funded on the rapid turnover of dictator-budgeted clients spending such sums. It was fun while it lasted but there’s plenty of other places around St M’s L that offer a similar service at less damage to the wallet.
To see where else I’ve eaten go to the GoogleMap …
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).