Have been very curious about Assunta Madre since some of my work colleagues went there a couple of months ago and came back to the office raving about the freshness of the seafood and what an amazing meal they had.
So, when some of our US lawyer friends were visiting and as usual didn’t give us much notice, we started thinking of where we to go that could accommodate eight of us and Assunta Madre came to mind.
The restaurant is the sister restaurant to the Assunta Madre in Rome and both spots are named after the fishing boat that provides the fresh seafood to both restaurants. The structure of the menu with fish being charged by the 100 grams really reminds me of one of my favorite restaurants from my 10 years in Las Vegas. Bartolotta, named after my friend and incredibly passionate talented chef Paul Bartolotta is one of the best italian seafood places in the world and significantly better than Assunta Madre.
We left the ordering in the staff’s hands and in the future we would definitely not do that as it was a bit repetitive, they brought more food than we needed (of course…) and our choices would have been a bit different. When they saw all the sea urchin they brough as starters left on the platter, they should for example not have served pasta with sea urchin, or could have asked…?
What we ate (everything…):
Carpaccio sampler: Three types of carpaccios: red prawns, sea bass and langoustines. The red prawns carpaccio was spectacular and tasty, the sea bass was a little too bland and the langoustines one was unnecessary and odd – in my mind langoustines are better grilled! All in a bit redundant to have all of them. They also served us raw langoustines on the shell – again, bring me some grilled ones please……
Razor clams: surprisingly excellent a I am not a huge razor clams fan but tasty and not chewy which can happen often.
Sea Urchins were fresh but taste was too strong. I am not sure why but I like the sea urchin served in japanese restaurants better – as a sea urchin apprentice how they differ apart from red versus yellow (now I sound like the utmost unsophisticated food obsessed…I admit).
Clams aka truffle of the sea: this is how they are called on the menu and the waiter explained how how precious and tasty they are. After they said that, I had high hopes, and I love clams usually but didn’t find them as flavourful as the razor clams.
We asked them to add a pasta course and got a pasta sampler with:
- Trofie pasta with sea bass and lemon: our favorite – I have been a trofie fan since Sicily and this was unique in a good way: lemony and with tasty cubes of sea bass.
- Pasta shaped like a big rigatoni with some sparce tomatoes: too bare of sauce and overly overly al dente…..all the pastas were borderline too al-dente but this one, probably because of its shape, was too tough.
- Vermicelli with Sea Urchin: no one liked this and stayed on everyone’s plates. One of my work colleagues said it tasted like soap. I wouldn’t go to that extreme but the sea urchin pasta I tried in Sicily two years ago was way better.
Sea bass with cherry tomatoes and olives: shocking but this was the best fish (avoiding the olives of course), white and flaky and very fresh and tender.
Lobster catalan style: served with some celery and tomatoes and a bit bland and not tender enough.
Red mullet in yogurt with potatoes: when the waiter brought this he said “and now awesome red mullet” – and didn’t deliver as the fish was actually dry. Maybe I didn’t understand the yogurt but expected it to be marinated in it and as a result, very moist which wasn’t the case.
Dessert sampler: They said they bring all desserts from Italy and that is why they don’t have any gelato. How can you serve a molten chocolate cake without any ice cream or whipped cream? The two Rum Baba varieties were uninspiring and so were their chocolate cake and cheesecake. Just have some liquid dessert instead -aka dessert wine! And I am a dessert fanatic so odd for me to say that a lot…
……and one of my coworkers was angry as he loves vanilla ice cream and always just orders that and couldn’t understand how they didn’t serve it (I sort of agree as the molten cake should at least be served with some type of ice cream).
In Sum: some very fresh and good dishes but the ambiance was a bit too old fashioned (painted walls with boats and frescos) and the food lacks a wow factor. But probabyprobably Paul Bartolotta’s fault as I was really hoping it would be an italian seafood spot like his! For fresh seafood and a brighter ambiance I would go to Milos instead.
Assunta Madre Menu
Assunta Madre http://www.assuntamadre.com/london/
9-10 Blenheim St, Mayfair, London W1S 1LJ
+4420 3230 3032