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Brutto, London: ‘The exceedingly good Italian we didn’t know we needed’ – restaurant review

The name means ugly, but Brutto’s dishes are a handsome, precise rendition of the Florentine trattoriaBrutto, 35-37 Greenhill Rents, London EC1M 6BN (020 4537 0928). Starters £7 – £12.50; mains £13.75 – £15; desserts £4.75 – £8; wines from £22.50Russell Norman is a restaurateur who attends to the details. He attends to the details much as popes attend to God. I know this because I once supplied him with some of those details. A few years ago, when he announced he was opening a New York-style Jewish deli complete with salt beef sandwiches, I insisted we have lunch so I could lecture him on the importance of fat in salt beef. “When people order salt beef,” I told him grandly, “they must be asked whether they want it fat on or off.” Otherwise, it will not be true to the New York Jewish deli tradition. He took notes. And when the much-missed Mishkin’s opened in Covent Garden the waiters did indeed ask the question. Oi, those salt beef sandwiches. It recalled the old gag about Jewish keep-fit lessons: you eat one of those, press your palm to your chest and say, “Feel the burn.” Continue reading…