Cucina Asellina

Words by Jane Ryan on 28-Jan-2013

Address: ME Hotel London, 336-337 The Strand, London, WC2R 1HA, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7420 4956
Style: Restaurant bar
Food: Set menu


The five-star ME Hotel in Aldwych opened in January 2013 and boasts two spectacular yet contrasting restaurants, each with their own bar and cocktail menu, as well as a roof terrace (due to open February 2013). Cucina Asellina combines rustic Italian influences with fine dining and a contemporary setting. Cucina has a warm, atmospheric feel, with wooden finishes and candelight contrasting with the sleek modernity of the hotel lobby, all glass and steel, though it's still clearly opulent, with huge bunches of flowers everywhere.

The bar itself is a marble-hewn marvel just across from an open kitchen, with uplit shelves showcasing products on the back-bar. The drinks list slants towards Italian origins, without becoming all-embracing and cliched. Think classically inspired cocktails using spirits from all parts of the world gently twisted with Italian amaros, liqueurs, bitters and fruits. The result is a collection of original drinks that come well-balanced and simply presented. Bar snacks go above and beyond the usual nuts and olives with a choice of daily-changing bruschetta and other classic Italian staples - meatballs, artisan breads etc. Slick and friendly service from staff from the wider Mediterranean - if not strictly Italy - help complete the immersion.

Don't leave without gawking at the lobby on the first floor, a 80-foot high pyramid-shaped lobby with projections of the galaxy moving overhead.