Cotidie means ‘everyday’ in Latin, chef Bruno Barbieri wanted his customers to feel like dining at his house. However, the result was quite the opposite, at least not at my house or anyone else’s. It’s an elegant yet relaxing place that resembled a modern hotel lobby, mixed in with clever and complex cooking for a beautiful Italian restaurant. I’d give anything for this to be my living room! The menu changes on a daily basis but signatures like lightly scrambled eggs with hazelnut, fregula with shellfish tend to stay put.
On a Easter Sunday, we were joined by local families and couples for a late brunch. It’s a chilled place than dressed up or pretentious. Our waiter was incredibly friendly, who thoroughly explained the a la carte menu, which was only two pages with 4 or 5 dishes under each of the 3 categories, starters, pasta & soups and mains. Else, go for the 7 course tasting menu at £65.
Our order was prolonged by the delicious bread basket, where each was so good I could’ve easily ate the whole thing and left happy. I’m glad we went for the standard 3 course, as part of the fine dining experience, this also included many additions. A charcuterie pre-starter, a lentil soup to accompany the main and the petite four even without coffee.
A great way to start with the best hams on offer, served with a wild rice salad on the side.
Goose foie gras ice-cream fruit chutney and toasted pan brioches with pistachio
The menu was hardly traditional Italian, at least I wouldn’t call foie gras ice cream Italian. My friend was so intrigued by the name, he insisted on trying. The dish could’ve easily been a dessert with the overly sweet chutney and the quickly melted ice cream. It was an interesting concept but not the best starter.
Lightly scrambled eggs served in its shell with hazelnuts and Gorgonzola fondue
My starter was a much better one, a signature at Cotidie. The lightly scrambled eggs were runny, slightly curdy but well enhanced by the hazelnuts, which added a clever texture of tiny crunches. The flavour was rather salty, like those from a salted cod but matched the curdy eggs really well.
Fregula cooked in a mussel water, shellfish and saffron broth
Fregula is couscous shaped pasta, but firmer and bouncier in texture. The pasta had a subtle sea flavour, as if someone was steaming seawater under the dish so you can taste the scent without the fishy flavour. The dotted shellfish were incredibly tender which put this dish on a very high standard.
Seared duck breast, braised onion cake, wild berry reduction
The duck looked perfectly pink with a definitely too yellow onion flan. The flavour was there for both, but the duck was slightly chewy.
We both loved the lentil soup, a very thick consistency that could’ve passed as mashed lentils but it was perfectly seasoned and bursting with original flavours.
Bruno’s Machiavelli cup-cream, vanilla ice-cream, fresh cherry compote
We were both stuffed at this point (probably because of the bread) so we ordered a signature dessert to share. The not so sweet vanilla ice cream was cushioned up by the creme anglaise which created a triple creamy dessert, sweetened by the fruity compote.
Verdict - 4/5
Food (great) - apart from the slightly chewy duck, every dish was close to perfection and hard to find any faults.
Service (very good) - our waiter thoroughly explained every dish, its ingredients, cooking methods as well as being spot on attentive. Food came at the perfect time, no wait at all. This elegant restaurant is a great place for dates too, great staff and excellent food.
Cost (£47) - three courses each and no wine, two of us billed £95 which definitely contradicted the ‘everyday’ dining concept.
50 Marylebone High Street, London
W1U 5HN, 020 7258 9878