Having had Fumo recommended to me a while ago, I suggested it as a venue for dinner with some work colleagues last night.
Fumo, at 1 Waterloo Street in the heart of the city centre, is an Italian with a difference, offering what we might call Italian tapas. These small plates are known as chichetti and are a Venetian idea.
Unfortunately, you can’t book unless you’re a large party, so we were rather surprised to be able to be seated immediately on a Friday evening. The restaurant was quite busy so I think we were just lucky! The menu is divided into several categories, including breads, meats, salads, pastas and pizzas and they suggest 5 or 6 dishes between two people. There was so much choice that making a decision was difficult but I eventually plumped for Sicilian Arancini (fried rice balls with a ragu filling, much nicer than they sound) and Trofie di Pesto, a pasta dish with green pesto. Both were very nice and the pasta in particular was a large portion for a small plate, albeit somewhat lacking in variety as it was just pasta with pesto and parmesan cheese. We also had two portions of battered calamari on the table which I tried. The batter was lovely but the calamari, as is so often the case, was chewy and rather tasteless in my view. On the other hand, I always feel that way about calamari but the others who ate it enjoyed it immensely so maybe it’s just me!
The food comes whenever it is ready which means dishes keep arriving, but it’s not a problem as it started appearing very quickly. My colleagues and I all enjoyed our dishes greatly. A few of us also ordered desserts. These took rather longer to appear and once perhaps 10 minutes or so had passed since we ordered we flagged down a passing waiter to ask after them and request the bill. We weren’t complaining but wanted to explain that two of the group had a train to catch. He disappeared off to check on them and returned to apologise and tell us they would be complementary. You can’t say fairer than that!
I was a little disappointed with my Torta di Caprese (chocolate and almond torte) when it arrived as the body of the tart wasn’t rich enough for my taste, but the chocolate topping was delicious.
All in all the bill came to £140 between 6 people, which isn’t bad when you consider that we had 5 cocktails and a cognac between us. The cocktails are on the pricey side (ranging from £6.50 to £9.50) but there is a huge choice. The bar seems to be rather popular and that led to my main complaint about Fumo – it’s rather noisy. It was a strain to hear conversation at times over the music and bustle of the restaurant. Fumo is designed in a stylish, modern way, but that means there are lots of hard surfaces and no soft furnishings to absorb sound. We were sat near the bar though so it may well be that the problem isn’t as bad in other parts of the restaurant.
Overall, 7.5/10. I’d happily go back.