l’Anima had been on my list for a while.If not just because every time I say they name, I feel compelled to sign it along to the Animaniacs theme tune, which is just so so so wrong. (If they had a sense of humour, they would totally make that the name of their mailing list.)
Anyway, I was saving it for a special occasion and my dad’s last night in London seemed as good as any. Walking in, we were greeted by two very pleasant, ridiculously gorgeous girls who really ought not to be allowed to walk in public for fear of making other women want to pull bags over their heads. It was a Wednesday night and the place was full of City Boys and the type of women who probably wear their 6-inch Loubs to clean their kitchens. Still, somehow it wasn’t entirely unwelcoming.
After we were sat, we were immediately served some gorgeous olives and a breadbasket
I started out with the Norcia Hand Carved Ham with ‘Pane Cunzato’:
My dad went with the Charcoal Scallops with n’Duja:
While my starter was alright, my dad’s was like eating a teaspoon of oregano. The scallops were cooked perfectly. Really, absolutely, beautiful – but any positives were completely outweighed by the overwhelming stench of herbs.
The mains were more where l’Anima shined.
My dad had the Sicilian Rabbit:
Dubbed several times ‘exquisite’ and ‘The best rabbit I’ve ever tasted’, this dish was a winner. I was able to sneak a quick bite to find a very tender meat with a lovely delicate sauce. A beautiful dish through and through.
I went with the Pork Belly with N’Cantarata Sauce:
Best. Crackling. Ever. That’s nearly all I have to say. The pork belly, as they say, was da bomb – tender tender tender meat, crispy crackling. It was a harmony of textures. The accompanying sauce – made predominantly of honey, paprika – was strong, but when used sparingly was gorgeous.
After all this, we skipped dessert.
The service was attentive, but bordering on the dreaded hover bees, ready to run to the table on the drop of a hat to pick up a fork, top up the water or dabble our brows. I say bordering because while this isn’t something that particularly bothered me, it was seriously starting to get to my dad. I kept watching him watch them watch him. It got a bit uncomfortable.
While I wasn’t much of a fan of our starters, I think this is one of the cases where we just happened to choose wrongly. The kitchen clearly knows how to cook a good meal, and I’ll be back.