49 Dean Street, London W1D 5BG
- Leicester Square Station (0.3 km)
- Leicester Square Tube Station (0.3 km)
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18 High Street, Walthamstow, London E17 7LD
“The Windmill Tapas Restaurant was opened by proprietors Jose & Regina in 2002 bringing an exotic taste of Portugal and Madeira to north-east London. The Windmill is a local best kept secret at the western end of Walthamstow High Street. Why not...” more...
16 reviews of polpetto in English
Nom nom nom. Been here many times and the food is great! My Italian mother, who’s extremely picky also agrees. Go for lunch as they have lunch deals and it’s not busy, while dinner is CRAZY busy and they don’t take reservations. Do the courgette fries.
The only reason that I’m giving Polpetto 3 stars, and not 5 is because of the service. Once a member of the staff told me that a table was free on the phone, and then when I arrived at the restaurant the manager acted like he had never heard from me before. Not the greatest experience to have. But the food is really good.
One of my favourite restaurants in Soho. A perfect place to take a date or to catch up with a mate over lunch. The small tapas styled Venetian food makes it a great experience to take a date and share plates of food along with the cosy surroundings. If you can, it’s great to get a window seat so you can watch the hustle of Soho down below.
My top dishes include the zuccini fries, chickpea bruschetta, cuttlefish ink dish, mini pizzas and the pork shoulder.
My only comment would be that I prefer actual wine glasses as apposed to the tumblers they serve the wine in.
Will def be heading back again soon… next Tuesday in fact :)
I’d heard great things about Polpetto but had never even gotten so far as to find out where it was located.
So I was pretty excited to stumble across it earlier this week, above a pub, and even more chuffed when they happened to have a spare table there and then as someone had cancelled.
It’s a tiny place and the tables are very much crammed in, but I found the atmosphere laid-back and cosy, with music and lighting at the perfect levels.
The few small plates we shared were delicious, and we silently battled for the biggest portion of the incredible the black pudding and walnut salad. I lost (the delicious braised lentils having momentarily distracted my attention).
Wine is served in tiny little glasses, with your own mini jug, and service is very friendly. A lovely Soho spot.
There’s a good atmosphere in Polpetto – which is lucky, as with the tightly packed seating it’s almost impossible to ignore your neighbours. I was rather surprised at the prices. Is this Tapas or fine dining? I’m not sure. The pricier dishes weigh in at around £10, which isn’t a small amount when you’re talking 6 dishes for 2 people. There are breads and vegetable dishes on the menu for £4-5, which seems much more reasonable.
Still, some dishes seem ridiculously over-priced. A bit of pickled fennel and a few slices of salami for £5.50? Admittedly the salami is very tasty…
The quality of ingredients is superb as is the cooking and the house wine is good. Still, I left feeling unsatisfied.
My favourite of the Polpo family of restaurants, which is saying a lot as they're all lovely. As with Polpo and da Polpo, they serve small plates of Venetian style cooking.
The baccala mantecato at Polpetto is one of the tastiest things I've ever eaten (the English translation of salt cod spread really doesn't do it justice), and worth a visit alone. We also had a pizzetta bianca, heritage tomatoes, polpette (isn't the Italian for meatballs so much nicer?), burrata (like a creamier, better version of mozzarella) and asparagus, all very tasty. The meal finished with another highlight - dark chocolate sorbet with candied fennel.
(Lunchtime reservations only, but it's worth queueing up for.)
Sister to Soho's Polpo, Polpetto is a must for generous portions of tapas style Italian food.
The place doesn't take bookings except for Saturday lunch. Definitely
worth queuing for if you're not on the verge of starvation as service is slow, but the food - fantastic, and reasonably priced!
Great date place.
This was our destination for lunch on a very wet and windy Monday after a morning spent taking in the Gauguin exhibition at the Tate Modern and we hoped it would be an appropriate choice. I'd been looking forward to visiting Polpetto since I first read a review by the Grumbling Gourmet and on a cheeky day off work it seemed to be an opportunity too good to miss. Like its sibling Polpo you can only book a table for lunch and you take your chances with the crowd in the evening.
As we arrived a little early, no dawdling and sampling the sights and sounds of Soho on a day when the rain was lashing down on Old Compton Street, we decided to have a quick fino downstairs in the French which was of course a great idea!! It was the first time B has been to this venerable Soho institution and with only four other punters in the bar we had a good chance to have a look at the many lovely pictures of the wide variety of artists and vagabonds which cover the walls.
Until his death in 1989 the French pub was run by the legend that was Gaston Berlemont. It was one of the main homes from home for Francis Bacon, John Deakin, Henrietta Moraes and dozens of other national treasures. When you can get a stool at the bar this is still one of my favourite central London haunts and I would most definitely recommend dropping in for an aperitif before you head upstairs for your meal or perhaps even better, have a cognac or two on your way out and just soak up the atmosphere.
Polpetto itself is at the top of a narrow wooden staircase which is lined with yet more great photos of the beautiful and the damned. The dining room is small, with lots of old wood and a great vibe, which would seat I would guess twenty or perhaps thirty at a push. I think it's very intimate and still has the feel of a Soho which has almost disappeared but, as a word of warning, I'd say that if you are a big guy or girl you may find some of the tables just a little too close together for comfort.
We were welcomed warmly and shown to our cosy window table by one of the three young ladies running the bar and front of house. Very efficient, friendly and laid back service was the order of the day and helped make this a restaurant I would recommend without hesitation. We wanted to make our way slowly through the menu and our request to stagger the ordering was accepted like it was the most natural thing to do rather than an inconvenience - nice touch and much appreciated girls.
So after getting some water and ordering a 500ml flask of the Cortese Volpi, which was reasonably priced at a tenner and was very easy drinking, we set about the menu. First up were a couple of delicious cicheti shaped like tiny cigars; the smoked tuna with dill ricotta and the melanzane parmigiana. We followed this with a really tasty pizzetta bianca while we tried to narrow down the already well edited menu - this was definitely one of those "I'd order everything on the menu" occasions.
Of course more wine was called for and we had a flask of the Sangiovese Dore while we had another look at the menu. After much debate, and I must admit a bit of gawping at what our fellow diners had ordered on my part, we finally reached agreement (to avoid food envy I was insisting on a fair and equal division of the spoils on this occasion).
The spicy pork and fennel polpette were on the large size and that was no bad thing, tender and juicy in a delicate slightly spicy tomato sauce they went very well with the crispy roast potatoes with rosemary. The supporting fennel, radish, mint and ricotta salad was also pretty damn fine but the star of the show was the crispy soft shell crab in a divine parmesan batter on a bed of celeriac slaw - I'm a big lover of fish and chips and this was just a wonderful riff on that type of thing and another dish to add to the menu for my final meal. Fine dining this is most definitely not but it has no pretensions in that area either.
Not wishing to appear rude we managed to share a tiramisu which was presented in a very fetching rustic glass and was suitably moist with a nice dark chocolate kick.
Sometime after long after 3pm we left this fine establishment very happy with the wallet only £65 lighter but with the body and spirit suitably uplifted........ I think Mr Bacon would have approved and would no doubt have been running up a large tab if he had been around today - that's almost the highest praise I can offer.
If the true test of any restaurant is to leave it happier than when you arrived then Polpetto was triumphant on this Monday afternoon - we salute you!!
For full review see http://thehappinessprojectlondon.wordpress.com
A bit of background in case you haven’t heard about this place. Polpetto (means “small octopus” in Italian) is the smaller, younger sister of Polpo (“octopus“) which opened in Soho to fantastic reviews. Little sister Polpetto is above the French House on Dean Street, a pub full of character and rammed to the rafters with squiffy media types, so named as it was home to the expat French resistance during the war (I love the French House – it gets a mention in my homage to Dean Street here). Both make Venetian bacaro food - shared small tapas-style plates (many of you will have eaten this in Venice. I went to Venice and ate in McDonalds, which is why you should never go to Venice as a skint student). Both have a no-reservations for dinner policy which is good for them but means I have tried and failed to eat at Polpo several times.
However, we went to Polpetto at around 7pm last Friday and got a table straight away, a nice one by the window. In fact there were no groaning queues the entire time we were there. And it’s lovely inside – you wander up narrow wooden stairs past old framed photos to a small, intimate, dimly lit restaurant which could be in Brussels or Paris, filled with couples and friends. (Apparently it looks like a New York West Village resto too – am long overdue a trip). I was impressed that even though it was busy, you can take your time to eat, there’s no rush or hassle or table-turning nonsense that can ruin an evening out. So we ordered a bottle of Sangiovese (£16.50) – which you drink in cute little wine glasses – and went about ordering.
We started with polpetti (£3) and white bean crostino (£1) - both delicious but tiny which was understandable if you consider the price. Then the flank steak with rocket and white truffle cream (£7) which was absolutely gorgeous – perfectly tender meat and the truffle cream was delicious. Decent sized portion too. And then a bit of a wierd one – I ordered cuttlefish in its ink (£7.50) because (a) I have never to my knowledge eaten cuttlefish nor (b) anything cooked in its own ink. This was a bit of a mistake – the cuttlefish was lovely but the ink was black and thick and gloopy and stained our tongues and lips and teeth. I also had flashbacks to ingesting half a fountain pen refill capsule at school and panicked a little bit. Probably a bit over-inky and in any event not something to order on date night. I’m still glad I tried it though. We finished with proscuitto and fig bruschetta (£7.50) which were again simple and delicious.
All in all it was £48 or £24 each for all this food and sharing a bottle of wine and we whiled away a nice relaxing two hours in the process. I will definitely be back to try more things in the menu – first on my list is the osso bucco with rissotto and the chilli prawns.
Wonderful location near to China Town. Great sharing plates. Will definitely be going back to try the trademark Polpetti (baby octopus) and the soft shell crab. Amazing flourless chocolate cake is a must.
This delightful little new addition to the Polpo family just above the French House is a small, reasonably priced and atmospheric place with some excellent food on offer.
The duck and porcini meatball was delicious and moreish, with a sumptuous sauce that begged to be licked off the plate. It isn't that sort of place though. The Melanzane parmigiana was, as my companion stated, the single-most umami thing in the world. Just bursting with flavour like you would not believe.
For the mains we got Crispy soft shell crab, parmesan batter and fennel salad which, apart from being dripped all over my companion was pretty good. It was the least exciting of all the dishes to be fair, the batter a bit too overpowering and the salad, while pleasant, didn't really taste of fennel. This went with Zucchini fries, cut thin and a little salty but y'know, yum.
Then, after reminding the staff we had ordered two mains, the Grilled sliced flank steak with white truffle cream was just great. Truffle sauce was delicious and the steak was so rare and tender, this went great with the Polenta bianca, a creamy comforting delight.
Overall, lovely experience, the staff were a bit ditzy at times but the food made up for it. Just a note, they don't take bookings in the evening so timing is everything...
Adored polpetto, almost everything we ate was fantastic and the place has a great vibe. I would probably skip the cicheti (small snacks) and head for the sharing plates. Particular stand outs for me included the chili/garlic prawns, the steak with white truffle sauce and the zucchini fries, soo much better than the wodgy ,greasy things you get at Byron. The only duff note was the salad of pea, fennel and ricotta which didn't have much fennel flavour and was fairly bland. I think the vegetable and salad section could stand improving most things on this section were carbs or deep fried, some proper veggies would be nice. Also getting a special shout out from me is the tiramisu, one of the best I've ever eaten but it came in a tiny shot glass, I had serious dessert envy when I saw the massive slice of flourless chocolate cake my friend got. Next tiem I'm getting two of the tiramisu!!
Be warned tables are very close together, be prepared to hear intimate details from your neighbours!
Went to Polpo and was told there was very long waiting time and so decided to try Polpetto instead. Waiting time was to be around 20 min (turned out to be 15) and they took down name and mobile number to text when the table was available.
The place is quite small inside and dim, but got a nice atmosphere for sitting down, talking and enjoying your food and wine.
The wine comes in a 250 or 500 ml caraffe or a full bottle. For food I decided to try one item from each section except for dessert - bread, vegetable, fish & seafood and meat. In the end it didn't add up to much, I was a bit surprised at receiving the bill.
From the bread section was the Pizzetta Bianca, a pizza bread with a strong flavour of fresh oregano, excellent quality and a good compliment to the other dishes to come out feeling if not full then at least not hungry. I had the zucchini fries from the veggie section, a large portion of golden, crispy zucchini in batter.
The waitress recommended the cuttlefish cooked in its own ink with a bit of lemon flavouring. She described it as delicate, which it was, but for me it was to much of it. The flavour got quite overpowering after just a few bites. The chilli prawn did look very nice, so that's probably a safer bet.
The meat dish I settled on was beef with salad and a white truffle sauce. I suppose it depends on whether you like truffles or not but for me this was the highlight of the meal.
After trying quite a few Spanish tapas places this felt quite refreshing and excellent quality for the price paid. I have to say I'd much rather come here then any of the other wine bars/tapas places in the area.
Opened just around the corner from Polpo, Polpetto is literally housed in the upstairs room of a pub. The place is tiny, half the size of Polpetto and without the bar area. Our waitress told us Polpetto won't take bookings for dinner but will take peoples names and mobile numbers so they can have a drink at the pub downstairs while they wait for their table to turn up. Cue gold mine and the sound of cash registers ringing for the downstairs pub. Although smaller, Polpetto has the same look and feel as Polpo with dangling unadorned lightbulbs, a pressed tin roof and brown paper menus that serve as place mats.
Polpetto offers the same style of food as Polpo, Venetian chicheti, small plates for sharing, but offers a whole new set of dishes. Chilli and garlic prawns (£7) had been helpfully shelled and were swimming merrily in a tomato sauce with a chilli kick so good that MTV boyfriend and I were scooping up the sauce with bread long after the prawns were devoured. Chickpea and anchovy crostini was complimentary and tasted almost like a chunky hommus with the added richness from the anchovies.
Pics and more details on my blog
For pics, see Greedy Diva @ http://greedydiva.blogspot.com/2010/08/polpetto-soho.html
Russell Norman opened Polpo, a Venetian style bacaro bar, in Soho around a year ago - I was immediately a fan. Polpetto is a smaller offshoot, following the same style, in teensy room above the likeable French House watering hole. I've given you the low down on Polpo already, but basically the approach of both restaurants is to offer a wide range of small plates of traditional Italian food - cicheti, crostino, pizzettas, plates of meat, fish and vegetables - for sharing or hogging all to oneself. Originally the plan for Polpetto was to mostly replicate Polpo's dishes, but in fact Polpetto's plates are generally different to those offered at it's big mama's tables.
Polpo's decor screams New York, and Polpetto's does too to a lesser extent. It's the exposed brick work, rustic mirrors, minimalist design. There's a patterned copper ceiling and big windows overlooking Dean Street. The bar area at the Polpo mothership, where the waiting hordes gather, gives it an extra buzz - but I was at an early evening time slot during Polpetto's soft opening on Saturday night, so it's too early to say if it will generate the same electric atmosphere. It well might - it's certainly already gained a passionate following, and will certainly be packed to the rafters in the weeks and months to come.
Over an Aperol and soda apertivo, a complimentary anchovy and chickpea crostino had a little bit too much of the sandwich shop tuna salad about it to really knock my socks off. I love anchovy, but it didn't appear to me here as a distinct flavour among the tahini and chickpea mix.
Our pea, mint, fennel and ricotta salad was gorgeous. Zingy and fresh this was an ode to beautifully contrasting textures and complimentary flavours. A highlight.
Another highlight - a generous portion of tender rare steak flank, sliced thickly, and smothered with a luscious white truffle cream and rocket.
Oh, and then yet another highlight - the panzanella. A vibrant mix of red and yellow tomatoes, garlic, onion, basil, white wine vinegar, oil, garlic, crunchy chunks of toasted bread, garlic and a hint of garlic.
The soft shell crab with parmesan batter and fennel salad was decent enough but I wouldn't order it again - the crab was lovely but nothing special. I couldn't taste the parmesan in the batter and the fennel salad was a little lost in the lemony cream such that it lost much of the flavour and bite that I love about fennel.
However, all was exalted to another level again with the fabulous pigeon saltimbocca, pudgy, rare and bloody, wrapped in prosciutto and bedded in a creamy cushion of sublime white polenta.
Then, a ballsy glass of tiramisu and a dainty, mellow pannacotta served with blackberries and an elegantly tasty almond biscotti. Wonderously, belly laughingly good.
There are wines by the carafe and mini wine glasses (not the Polpo tumblers).
Polpetto opens officially tomorrow (Monday 23 August 2010). I was lucky enough to get through on the busy lines to secure some seats for the 50% off soft opening this weekend. Normally it might not be fair to review a place during its soft opening. But I love the Polpetto/Polpo concept, the passion behind it, and the casual, easy eating, quality food. When it's this good already, I'm happy to recommend it early on. Without a 50% discount on food our total bill would have been £32 per head including apertivo, wine and service. I rate it as good value, even if much of the food appears to be ready made for rolling straight out of the kitchen (eg. the desserts).
Just don't go along swept up too much in the anticipated hype that it's the best place in the universe and everything is perfect - if you can resist succumbing to that, I'm certain you won't be disappointed.
Full review at www.grumblinggourmet.com
Small plate dining, associated with the tapas of Spain and the mezze of Greece and Turkey, appear all over the region. The less known Venetian equivalent, chicchetti, have many similarities. Combinations of meat, fish and vegetables, often served with bread or polenta. Can't go wrong. In the past few years, alongside several excellent new Spanish joints, we've also been lucky enough to welcome both Bocca di Lupo and Polpo to Soho. The latter, a buzzy little place on Beak Street, was opened by Russell Norman (ex Caprice Holdings) to solid reviews and even more solid word of mouth. A strict no bookings policy at this 'locals' restaurant led to regular queues down the street once the word had spread. It looks like he could be about to do it again with Polpetto, a beautiful little matchbox above the French House.
The room is a cube, up the stairs from the Frenchie, and small with only 20 or so seats. A high ceiling, simple light walls, and the middle class garden trick of mirrors in window frames make the most of the space. Like that other Soho stalwart Andrew Edmunds, the cheery but casual staff, wonderfully flavoured rustic food and informal dining style aren't likely to win any Michelin stars, but I doubt that they care.
We dived into the fascinating menu with three dishes apiece, checking that would satisfy (while leaving room for desert). Meat, meat, meat, meat, meat, meat and potato. It's what happens when boys are left on their own with menus. An appetiser of roughly chopped chickpea and anchovy came pepped with garlic and thyme served on crostino. Perfectly flavoured, confident, rustic cuisine (well, it was served in mismatched bowls). This was a statement of intent.
It was followed by a ham terrine so pigging good it rendered my guest speechless and a ham and pickled pepper pizzette, which was lovely but not one I'll order again in a kitchen with this much invention. A signature favourite at Polpo are their lovely meatballs. Little meaty cannonballs, heartily flavoured, I was glad to see a couple of examples on the menu. I can't work out which I preferred - the dense, dark duck and porchini we had first, or the spicy pork and fennel torpedos that came next, smothered in a spicy tomato sauce.
We took a small pause over a well priced and very acceptable wine served in tiny wine glasses. I'm sure there's a reason for the size, but it led to much hilarity, three 'glasses' each by this point and we weren't even half way though the bottle.
As I say, it's the perfect place for old friends to take a long Friday lunch. It's all set up for sharing with just enough of everything for you to be happy with your share. That being said, this was between two. There are some dishes I wouldn't want to divide into three or four, particularly the pigeon breasts that came to the table as saltimbocca (saltimbocci?), that is to say wrapped in salty crisp pancetta with sage tucked between the two. Teacher Boy had to stop for some time to admire the meat, marvelling at the wonders of cooking. "You eat out more than me, is it luck getting it like that? I mean, how can they cook it and know it's done spot on?" No Teacher Boy. It's not luck, it's the sign of an excellent chef. Sweep into the kitchen and offer to marry him, at least try to befriend him before everyone else realises.
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