Given all that, we can reasonably expect three things from such a hotel: good service, high style and lots of colour. As it turns out, you do indeed get all three, more often than not, all at the same time. If you like men in kilts, you're sure to approve of the greeting you'll get on entering the hotel, with a trio of Missoni kilt clad young men to see you inside safely (and help you with a taxi on your exit). Indeed, staff are readily identifiable as the ones wearing Missoni knitwear uniforms.
The inside too is a riot of colour, or so it seems, but to call it a riot is misleading for a riot (as we Londoners can testify) implies a degree of chaos and disorder but every zig-zag purple streak here has been placed with considerable purpose. Despite the sheer quantity of colour therefore and the risk that entails, the overall effect is actually quite pleasing and serves to lift the spirits, which is always nice but rarely the case, having seen the inside of too many hotels that are drab or fading, or a combination of both.
The choice of restaurant therefore for such an establishment is an important one. In this respect, Missoni seem to have made a sensible choice by keeping it Italian, and once that decision was made, no doubt the question of patronage was next. There are few Italian chefs in the UK more famous than than Giorgio Locatelli who holds a Michelin star for his Italian eatery Locanda Locatelli in London. We liked the food at Locanda Locatelli when we went there, we just weren't keen on the prices, though fortunately, Cucina hurts the wallet somewhat less. We cannot say though exactly how much influence Giorgio Locatelli has had on the food here but Cucina seems happy to have its own identity and most diners would come and go we're sure without the Locatelli brand flitting across their consciousness. Head chef Mattia Camorani was however formerly employed at Reffetorio, another of Locatelli's London restaurants.
Finally before the food, the restaurant has similarly had the Missoni team touch and with a black and white theme a continuity of the house style, so picking up a 'best dressed restaurant award'. There's an outside smoking terrace too. Overall, the restaurant is pretty comfortable.
The carpaccio was excellent, with the quality of ingredients high and the seasoning spot on. The scarmoza (or scamoza) is an Italian cow's milk cheese, though the star of the plate was the balsamic vinegar reduction. Portion sizes throughout were generous, though especially here with two substantial cuts of scarmoza.
There are a small handful of Italian restaurants in the UK that are cooking at the top end of Italian cuisine, Locanda Locatelli itself, Semplice and Zafferano for example, and there seem an endless amount of mostly awful chains. Between the two, Cucino serves a useful purpose and a good meal. In our view, Cucino would be a great place to meet friends for food. And if you get bored with your friends, at the Missoni, even staring at the walls is quite fun.
Additional note. Our usual 'blogging' camera was damaged on route to Scotland necessitating a hastily bought temporary replacement for our trip. The result sadly is that the pictures are of a lower quality than those we would normally seek to publish. We will resume normal service in due course but apologise to our readers and even more so to the restaurants for not capturing the food as well as it deserves.
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