Ah, Soho. Wouldn't have it any other way.
61 Rupert Street, London W1D 7PW
- Piccadilly Circus Tube Station (0.2 km)
- Leicester Square Station (0.4 km)
- Contact us:
- Opening hours:
Mon - Sat: 11:00 - 12:00
Sun: 12:00 - 23:00
County Hall, Riverside Building, Westminster Bridge Rd, London SE1 7PB
“Zen China specializes in Imperial Beijing cuisine, with a focus on traditional North Chinese regional cooking, influenced by the imperial tradition. Zen China’s signature dish is the Authentic Beijing Roast Duck, as known as Peking Duck. We are...” more...
16 reviews of Spuntino in English
We just love this place – our favourite hidden gem of Soho. Trendy without any effort – just love the old style deco. The staff are always very helpful and friendly and the wine list is very good. Always go with staff recommendations but our top choices are The Mac & Cheese, any of the Burgers and it goes without saying the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich – yum yum ;-)
I read about Spuntino a couple of times, and finally managed to take a look myself. You really should look it up on the map before you go there, otherwise you likely won’t find it.
It’s a nice little room, that mainly consists of a bar made of metal, you most people sit directly at the bar. The bar feels a bit minimalist, but it is quite practical. I had something that was possibly too small, to be called a burger, but kind of too big, to be called a slider. But whatever you call it, it’s just tasty! The fries tasted great as well. I also liked the wine I had with it – I just don’t really like to get wine in “normal” glasses instead of wine glasses, but as this seems to be part of the concept, I’m fine with it. As dessert I opted for a gin and tonic, which didn’t disappoint me either.
I was there during afternoon; it was full, but I didn’t need to queue. So, if you’re there at a not so busy hour or if you like to queue, that’s definitely a really nice little gem in Soho, that serves one of the best sliderburgerthingy you could find in London.
Another restaurant under his belt, and another winner. Mr Norman is a man who clearly knows what niches need to be filled in the London food scene, and he does it with a lack of pretension, and quality as a focus.
I decided to drop in for an impromptu Saturday lunch, having been in the area and hearing amazing things about it, and I was not disappointed. Having walked by it twice without realising, I finally found the nondescript frontage only by peering in the window carefully to make sure it wasn’t a random house of ill-repute. Upon entering, I noted that, as the reviews say, every seat was occupied. However, despite them being this busy, I was attended to by the very helpful bar staff, and was seated the minute a couple left.
Perusal of the menu lead to a conclusion; I was stumped. Everything sounded so good, I had trouble keeping within the budget I’d set for myself for the day. I opted for a couple of cocktails, including their Sazerac (charmingly served in a dinky pewter cup) and a Clover Club (another cocktail making a refreshing, fruity resurgence in bars everywhere). Both hit the mark, if a little small in size (though the prices were reasonable, at £7 and £5.50 respectively).
For food, I couldn’t turn down at least one slider, opting for the pulled pork with pickled apple. It was, quite simply, like someone had taken the best roast pork sandwich and condensed it into a four-bite bun. Meltingly soft, moist (and FLAVOURSOME for a change) pulled pork vied with crunchy apple and little flecks of fatty crackling that mastered both viscerally-pleasant texture and taste. It won’t win a Michelin star, but it was amazing comfort food. The same applies to the main dish, a simple combination of spicy sausage (stewed and sliced) with cheddar grits…this was the only time I’ve ever seen grits on a menu this side of the Atlantic, and they were pretty damn good, with great texture and full of savoury, cheesey flavour.
While the savoury dishes were satisfying, I couldn’t resist a little top-up of sucrose, with their brown sugar cheesecake that was, quite simply, the best cheesecake I’ve had in London (I’m on a quest to find the world’s best, so it’s nice to see London has a strong contender). The drunken plums it was paired with were very tasty, though as little firmer than I’d have liked. I washed it down with a very fine Blanton’s bourbon, which was sadly served in a water glass rather than a tiny cup or rocks glass. Still, it worked well enough, and it’s a minor niggle (I work in a bar that stocks tons of antique fancy barware, so I’m probably a little biased).
Overall, the experience was a welcoming, comforting one, and I could happily sit there munching and drinking for hours, if only it wasn’t bad etiquette in a place this small. I also love the way that the place really does feel like a small, hip joint back on St Marks Place or Prospect Avenue back in NYC…I mean it; people have made broad generalisations and repeated what they’ve heard about it being “Lower East Side Chic” etc, but I assure you from plenty of experience that they really DO capture that same spirit. I’m sorry in advance if I barge any of you out the way to grab a chair at this awesome little place in future.
Thanks to Sean, my waiter/barman/greeter/new friend, he’s especially on the ball when it comes to the cocktails.
Nicely decorated, but overpriced & nothing much to offer on the menu. Staff with attitude that didn’t spare us the oh so loud music. Won’t be back, rather go to its elder sister, polpo.
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Full review and pics here
I kind of thought I had written up Spuntino long ago. It appears I haven’t… So some words about the current bloggers’ favourite. In this case I absolutely and completely agree with the Spuntino-Hype. It is an amazing place, so much fun! We went there on a Friday evening which is a mistake if you are hungry. As we knew what we were up against, I didn’t mind waiting at this occasion. Spuntino is very small, around 25 or so seats around on the counter around the central bar area, and has a no booking policy. It’s quite comfortable to queue leaning against the wall where there is also space to put down your drinks. Yes you get served in the queue and yes I was very drunk long before we got to sit down to order some food.
I should probably mention at the point that Spuntino is the little brother of Polpo and Polpetto, we are talking creative restaurateurs here.
rather nice dirty martinis , I think they were only 5£ or am I wrong?
The menu, even though small, is full of dishes I want to try, and it is on the cheap side. Of course considering the amount of alcohol you have consumed before eating, the bill adds up… The food has a clear American theme to it with some American-Italian influences. American Rock ‘n’ Roll in the background and adorable guys with tattoos serving makes for a unique and particularly charming atmosphere.
Finally we have a seat (to which we stagger at this point). The nice people at Spuntino immediately serve us some fresh popcorn. Unfortunately it was too salty, but one shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth…
The Eggplant Chips (4) with caraway seeds went perfectly with the fresh and cold fennel yogurt.
Then there come the cutest burgers in the universe, and I forget to take a picture because I am just too greedy and they were gone within seconds. The best thing is that they have the perfect size to try all varieties! At this occasion we go for the Ground Beef and Bone Marrow Slider (4.50) which is tasty and succulent and the delectable Salt Beef Slider
Another fun dish yet to come: Truffled Egg Toast (£5.50). Plenty of gooey cheese, runny egg and the wonderful flavour of truffle amalgamate in the perfect guilty pleasure.
Also good but comparably less exciting were the Calamari, chick peas, ink (7). Considering that I avoid squid usually because I hate it when it is too chewy (which it just too often is), this one was perfectly tender and went very well with the chickpeas and the pitch black ink.
I had read in other bloggers’ review about the Peanut Butter Sandwich with Jelly (6.50) which I considered a must try. What a great idea to make the ‘sandwich bread’ out of peanut ice cream. Give me more!
Here you have some Brown Sugar Cheese Cake with Plums. I didn’t think that plums went so well with the cheese cake, which by the way was an absolute cheese-cake heaven.
We ended up making the closing time with plenty more drinks and we even made some friends. Dear Spuntino, I like you very much, you don’t only create lovely food but you make me smile.
I love this place. I love the pants off it. Russell Norman is the undisputed king of restaurants at the moment -possibly in the world. (There are those guys in the US doing the Mexi-Japanese fusion thing but this is probably better.)
Spuntino is in ‘proper’ Soho – it’s on perhaps the last street that can still be called that. On my walk up from Piccadilly Circus I was stared down by a shirtless crack head looking for a fight, had drunks break glasses all around me and an enormous Polish woman offered me a discount to get into a sex show. (It was 5:30pm. Maybe they have matinee performances?)
If you’re familiar with Rupert Street you’ll know it’s not really all that long and yet all of this wackiness will happen to you too. The walk up to Spuntino is like a rapey version of a Charlie Chaplin sketch.
The surrounds are just seedy enough to give you a dodgy frisson. This, despite the fact you’re a few hundred feet from a major tourist destination and are as safe as houses. (Does that expression need updating for a post-2008 world?)
We had the truffled egg on toast (of course), the pulled pork slider, the lamb and pickled cucumber slider, the pizzetta, and the curly fries. All for £3 – £5. Everything was amazing. Proper amazing. I could have gone another round.
In fact, if we didn’t have a show to get to we may well have. (I was also acutely aware that, because I had been waiting for James, I had been occupying one of the stools for well over an hour -this is bad bacari etiquette. Eat and run.)
Like any Russell Norman restaurant, the house wines are extremely well chosen so you can cheerfully stick to them. Beers are Italian -James was particularly keen on the fact they chill their ales.
As for cocktails, always, always start with a negroni. In fact, start every meal with a negroni.
Longer review and more photos here:
Comment 1 comment on this review
alexsheppard, 6 July 2011:
Reasons to love Spuntino:
- Truffled egg toast
- The peanut butter and jelly dessert, which consists of two triangles of peanut butter ice cream with raspberry jam in the middle
- Truffled egg toast
- Beef and marrow sliders that ooze tasty juice as you bite into them (if you're greedy like me you'll need two of these)
- Truffled egg toast
- Deep fried (!) olives
Ok, so they had me at 'slice of toast with runny egg yolk/truffle oil in the middle smothered in fontina cheese'. Comfort food squared. You won't find many healthy options here, but if you like your food (deep)fried and carb heavy, your drinks strong and your bar staff heavily tattooed (and friendly), this is your kind of place.
(Should probably mention the mac'n'cheese and sausage with lentils were average, but the rest of the food more than makes up for it.)
No bookings. Show up early or very late if you don't want to queue.
It's as nice as they all say. Small, buzzing, friendly service, quirky dishes.
The egg and truffle toast is comfort food in the truest sense of the word, and the view on the "xxl video shop" opposite through the window is Soho in an even truer sense. It's very likely that you'll have to queue, even if coming for dinner at 6 pm during the week. So, the smaller the group of people the better. And one of the places where dining solo is actually a very pleasant option: It'll be easier to get a space at the bar and you still won't feel alone.
Spuntino has a slightly sinister and forbidding exterior (and is so discreet one might have trouble finding it) - and is right in the middle of one of Soho's most seedy streets. One enters from the street straight into a tiny room - originally a Victorian fishmonger, with high, pressed ceilings and tiles wall to ceiling throughout. They have inserted a central polished steel bar and 25 diners sit on fixed stools around this. No reservations, and no telephone even! - one just turns up and queues (or is lucky like we were and gets seats straight away).
The decor leaves the rather damaged interior virtually intact as it was excavated from subsequent redecorations, but there are your typical American caged naked light bulbs and design touches. It all feels very East Village or SoHo NYC, with the food (and staff) to match. The actually very charming, friendly and efficient staff all had the most amazing tattoos on display. They do "tasting plates" - the idea to is order a few and share. They gave us chili popcorn when we sat down, and we ordered aubergine chips with a fennel yoghurt dressing as a starter. For our main sharing dishes we had macaroni cheese (a superb version, zinging with mozzarella, fontina and parmesan, mustard and leeks and a crispy breadcrumb topping), grilled chicory and speck and spicy Italian sausage and lentils. Stunning, and came to just over £10 per head (we had soft drinks; not alcohol).
There was a lovely chilled, dare I say romantic vibe in the restaurant for our late weekday lunch. However, I can imagine at peak times this place would be jumping. It’s definitely worth frequent visits.
I'm gonna be more brief and less eloquent than the other reviewers; you should go. The hip prohibition-era, deconstructed decor and befitting menu is ace - and the staff are disarmingly friendly / normal for somewhere that's self-knowingly cool.
Prop yourself at the tiny bar (the whole place defies you to swing a cat), and just order a whole bunch of "sliders" and plates. I wasn't over enamoured with my soft shell crab but it was excellently cooked, and just erm don't think I like soft shell crab as much as I thought I did.
The ground beef & bone marrow slider & eggplant chips (surely 'fries'?) were amazing - and nice touch that they offer you chilli oil-infused popcorn while you wait for your mains :)
Full review and photos at www.grumblinggourmet.com
I came to bury, not to praise. After all, we don't really like a winner in this country, not if we’re honest. And particularly not one who manages to make it appear so effortless. We prefer those who huff and puff and manage to succeed almost despite themselves, like Kenny Dalgleish. So Russell Norman, already the proprietor of two massively popular and critically lauded Italian tapas joints (Polpo and Polpetto as you're asking) was really pushing his luck. And how does he do with the third? Yawn, damn near faultless again... How bloody dull.
This one's no bigger than the bathrooms in Spice Market, the hollow gilded cage of gaud currently parting stupid people and the idle rich from their readies in Leicester Square. And no, you won't find me reviewing it soon. I've already had a hollow chuckle at the pricing on its tired fusion menu and spent far too much for far too little in its New York sibling to fall for that trick again. Sputino probably cost as much as one of the gold taps.
That's not saying it isn't designed. Norman really gets how important the look and feel of his joints is to the atmosphere. All have subtle similarities, but fit their homes like well worn hipster jeans. They peeled back the interior panelling on this old bottle shop on Rupert Street and allegedly found the most gorgeous open brickwork and Victorian tiling... Swine. A few architectural prints and oddities artfully thrown up and you’re done. The restaurant, if you can call it that, comprises 20 odd seats round a battered zinc bar that's been there for years (since opening last month). It looks beautiful. Passing Shoreditch design Nazis lie fitting and frothing on the floor outside. Grabbing a seat is a total lottery here though, no reservations mean little chance at busy times unless you’re prepared to watch and wait. Turn up as we did, a pair of Soho irregulars dubiously justifying a meeting on a late afternoon, go early (they open at eleven) or whistle for it, your call.
Like the others, there's a simple selection of wines by the carafe or the tumbler next to a short menu of mouth watering small plates on a paper placemat. Some of the dishes port across from the Venetian tapas roots of the other restaurants; a sweet and butter soft zucchini (more on the language in a bit), mint and chilli pizzetta with a moreishly crispy base wouldn’t look out of place on either menu, soft-shell crab is a favourite and there’s a small selection of different bruchetta. I was more interested in the transatlantic dishes featured. The Mac n Cheese arrived with the gents next to us, a hangover cure sent from heaven. Darkly crispy breadcrumb topped oozing cheese arrived in an enormous Staubb style pan. A steal for £8 and more than enough for one, though judging by the clash of forks next to us, not quite enough for two. We sampled the sliders, another obvious Americanism, this year’s I don’t know what (a Spanish themed version also appears on the menu of The Opera Tavern) and destined to be copied repeatedly and badly elsewhere. We took three from the selection of four; firm spicy sea-salty mackerel, salt beef with Lilliputian cornichons and small beef bombs, made further moist with bone marrow and cooked to a deep salmon pink precision within their coating of cheese, nestled into tiny white buns, chewy firm enough to stand guard against the mingling juices.
We’d also sneaked in a portion of chewy eggplant chips dipped into a fennel yogurt. Interesting, the cold fennel dip was a good twist, but not up there with Zucca’s, admittedly different, Fritti. Worth more than a mention though were the deep-fried olives for which I’ll turn to Mr Hugh Wright, proprietor of www.twelvepointfivepercent.com and as delightfully acerbic and well written gentleman as you’ll ever read. "Hot, bitter, salty anchovy-farced pellets of pleasure, laced for all I know with a sprinkling of crack in the crispy crumb encasing them." Words to make you smile.
Do try and come. It’s worth the (repeated) effort to slide into one of the fixed bar seats, and is in itself as effortlessly cool as the well drilled and friendly rockabilly bar team. So move over Paul Raymond, there's a new king of Soho.
For full review, please go to: http://wp.me/pwXBH-189
SPUNTINO - AN ENGLISHMAN IN NEW YORK (IN LONDON)
Summary: The latest, smallest & funkiest Soho outpost from Russell Norman, Spuntino has a great ambience & is a lot of fun. They have concocted some great cocktails and the food is simple, satisfying & just that little bit different for London. It is a great place to drop by for a drink and/or a quick bite, but you could easily find yourself there many hours later, even if you came alone.
In search of some comfort
I was in London. I was working. It was late. I was alone. I needed food. I wanted comfort.
Soho’s Rupert Street has traditionally offered a certain brand of ‘comfort’, although I wasn’t in the market for that. Luckily, the same street now offers culinary contentment too, thanks to Russell Norman’s third addition to the neighborhood in less than two years.
Continuing the Italian language conceit – his first two restaurants are called Polpo and Polpetto – Spuntino is really not very Italian at all, aside from the name and presumably the kitchen’s pedigree. Russell described it to me as a “diner,” although this is diametrically opposed to those shiny aluminum-clad monstrosities that cater to the elderly by day and drunk college students by night, and have at least 30 pages in their menus. No, Spuntino is achingly hip; lower east side (LES) Manhattan hip. It is self-conscious of this fact, yet not in an annoying or condescending way, which is not very LES.
Despite the efforts of its raised ceiling, Spuntino is a very small space, and easily gets cramped in the evenings. Ajax, the imposing yet soft-spoken restaurant manager who used to run the bar at sibling Polpo and is the progenitor of the creative speakeasy-inspired cocktail menu, informed me that since they opened the doors, it has pretty much been busy the whole day through (they open at 11am and close ‘late’), every day. On my visit, they had been open for about three weeks and he hadn’t had a day off yet.
Spuntino is essentially one large u-shaped bar, which has a beautiful nickel-like metallic finish. There are 24 stools and a long makeshift corridor along the long side of the ‘u’ that leads to a small backroom, which has a table that seats six. When they took over the space from a non-noteworthy Indian restaurant, they discovered original tiles buried deep beneath the plaster. These, as well as the extra feet of space they uncovered above the previous ceiling, add considerably to the charm of the room, as do other countless little design details such as the choice of hanging lights.
At night, the place is dark, the music is a slightly loud and infatuating collection of mainly American classics, and it is populated by the type of people who tend to know about cool things before others do (present company generally excluded). The staff all seemed to be tattooed somewhere or other, and almost in spite of their appearances also tended to be very professional, especially given that their computer system had broken down on the night of my visit and all the tickets had to be done by hand.
As I was dining solo, and as the bar has an even number of stools, I was seated straight away despite the hulking mass of onlookers who were sipping cocktails and waiting for a spot to sit. Score.
As with Polpo and Polpetto, the menus are printed on a stylish thick rectangular piece of paper that serves as your place-mat for the evening. The food is somewhat of a mish-mash of things (sort of like a diner, I guess), but everything sounds appetizing and much of it seems downright naughty if you have any airs about being at all healthy. But this was fine. Given the day I had just had, and the week I was about to, I felt the need, the need for greed.
Before consuming any food, I decided I should try one of their cocktails, which all sounded interesting. My initial tipple was the Sazerac, which was poured from a silver teapot into a beautifully engraved antique silver teacup – cutely in-keeping with the prohibition-era theme. There was no getting around it, the drink was damn strong. In addition to the main ingredients (Sazerac rye whiskey, Peuchaud’s Bitters, lemon peel and definitely some kind of sweetener), it apparently contained a splash of Absinthe as well, so I knew this was going to be a walk on the wild side. Though it was strong, it was deftly balanced, and I enjoyed sipping on it – as I would a cup of tea – while perusing the familiar-looking menu that was full of unfamiliar dishes.
After ordering, they brought me a mug of complimentary popcorn fresh from the little machine they have behind the bar. It seemed sort of incongruous, but the Absinthe was kicking in, so I really didn’t mind.
Eggplant Chips & Fennel Yogurt:
First up was a dish that perfectly illustrated Spuntino’s schizophrenic identity. ‘Eggplant’ (American for aubergine) ‘Chips’ (British for fries) and ‘Yoghurt’ spelled the British way. Despite the cross-cultural spelling, my verdict on the dish couldn’t be clearer: it was great. Perfectly light and crispy, the richness of the chips’ breading and the eggplant itself was balanced by the cool, creamy ‘yogurt’ (I am American so spell that way, except for the occasional unintentional intrusion from Microsoft Word’s spell-checker, which is for some reason permanently set in UK English on my computer). Simple and delicious; ‘nuff said.
Ground Beef & Bone Marrow Slider:
I also enjoyed my little slider. Essentially a ground beef meatball, they are apparently cooked in butter and, after they have reached the desired level of done-ness, they mop up the juices in the pan with the soft and slightly sweet miniature buns. The beef itself was a nice consistency, and combined with the remnants of butter and marrowbone, this was a great little bite (or two), with some tang from the pickles steering it away from being too rich and providing some welcome crunch. Nothing life changing, but very satisfying indeed.
Truffled Egg Toast:
I had read rave reviews of the simple-looking truffled egg toast. From what I could make out, this was basically a thick slice of decent crusty white bread that had been hollowed out in the center to make way for oozy orange egg yolk, on top of which had been added a generous layer of cheese (which was either all or part Fontina) and a healthy dash of truffle oil. There was a very pleasant and distinct resonance from the truffle oil, and the textures all worked. It was nice, but not quite as good as I had expected given the comments I had seen. Maybe I shouldn’t have expected the world though…after all, it is white bread, cheese and eggs.
As I was taking a breather, and pondering what to order next, Ajax decided to make me a follow-up cocktail on the house. This was after I had ordered and began drinking a glass of Polpo’s own-label prosecco, which is supplied by Dal Bello from Treviso, and is particularly nice, with the slightest sweetness to it. The cocktail was also very good, although all I can remember about it now was that it was orange in color and sort of sweet and sour. Like my first drink, it was more balanced than I was becoming.
Duck Ham, Pecorino & Mint:
I wasn’t quite sure what to order next, but felt that I needed some enzymes to dismantle the deviousness of my first trio of dishes. Ajax strongly recommended the ‘duck ham’ salad. They make their own ‘ham’ by aging the duck for 10 days in the Polpo kitchen. This might have been my favorite dish. It was a really great salad, with a zippy dressing, and the duck itself was divine. The pecorino gave it that little bit of salty and nutty richness while the mint kept things fresh. Once again, simple but excellent.
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich:
For dessert, it had to be a peanut butter and jelly ‘sandwich’. The trick here was that the bread of the sandwich was in fact peanut butter ice cream. This was downright delicious, and the size wasn’t too small either. The berry sauce was rich and the heap of crunchy peanuts and toffee made for the perfect topping. I enjoyed every bite. And with this, I offered my sweet surrender.
A diner refiner
While I have enjoyed meals at both Polpo and Polpetto, Spuntino is definitely a bit of a departure. While the décor is roughly of the same ilk – perhaps a bit broodier – and the food is arranged in small plates, it is definitely not Venetian (or for that matter Italian). It is comfort food, up with a twist. This makes it fun, especially when the cocktails are as good as they are.
Beyond the gratifying food and innovative libations, Spuntino is a vibe, an atmosphere. It is just a really fun place and you can’t help but be in a good mood once you step in from the colorful amusements on the other side of the frosted glass. If I still lived in London, I could see myself coming here a bit too often.
Note: I have dined at Spuntino once, and it was for dinner.
Full review and photies on http://thehappinessprojectlondon.wordpress.com
The Chef and I are decided – lunch is the best meal of the day. Even better is an impromptu lunch. Better than that a boozy long impromptu lunch. And the best of the best is a boozy long impromptu lunch where you don’t have to go to work afterwards and can do a pub crawl round Soho for the rest of the afternoon.
Well, we managed most of the above yesterday anyway. Spuntino is the new New-York-speakeasy influenced baby from the people that brought us Polpo and Polpetto and its really a delight that they are cornerning the market in Soho with cool, friendly, great value restaurants. Spuntino says it has no telephone number, no reservations, and The Chef and I thought there is no WAY we’d be able to walk in on Friday lunchtime and get a table easily. But we did – easy peasy - 5 minute wait, and the short wait continued for the rest of lunchtime, so don’t be put off by no reservations.
Spuntino looks fab – having just been to Wilton’s Music Hall the night before to see Iolanthe, I’m a big fan of shabby chic and Spuntino has been pared back to its original features and looks great for it – beautiful tiles like it was formerly a Roman spa or a swimming pool, lovely lights. Although you all sit round a bar, you get enough privacy and its sexy enough to be a fantastic first date place and there’s a great mix of friends, couples and solo eaters. We also noted that all these places seem to have the same type of staff – trendy without being pretentious, cool and friendly and enthusiastic and laid back. It makes for a great atmosphere. Thanks to the lovely Nigel for our lunch and for the pepper and thyme popcorn that make us cough.
Anyway the food was brilliant: Lardo crostini and thingy-berries, delicious; Amazing truffle egg on toast – delicious strong cheese (almost Swiss, raclettey), gooey egg and truffle – you have to taste it, is amaaaazing;
one marrow “slider” – ridiculously deep taste almost like an Italian ragu or spag bol, really lovely; Mac and cheese – only disappointment. A little underseasoned and the cheese could have been stronger – I prefer the Villandry Kitchen version; Peanut butter and jam sandwich – this was also amazing and still makes my mouth water thinking about it. Peanut ice cream with rich berries and crumbled peanuts, absolutely delicious and so CLEVER.
Spuntino made us both smile loads – we had an incredible lunch and all this food, plus an old fashioned cocktail (guess who’s been watching too much Mad Men), 250cl white wine and kwoffees (served Americano filter style) came to only £30 each which was fantastic. It was a treat and a pleasure and the setting for our plotting the aforementioned Soho lunch and pub crawl. In fact the whole thing was incredibly Mad Men cool now I come to think about it. I will definitely be back – to try the other sliders and the soft shell crab and the stringy curly fries. You can so easily pay £30 for an average meal in Soho so I’m so happy these guys are revolutionising the place – they can really do no wrong right now!
Another place by Russell Norman, the owner of Polpo and Polpetto, this time on Rupert Street. From the outside it looks quite modest with its dark facade and small sign. On the inside however is a small space with the bar being the main feature and some tables in the back.
The bar is the place to be, with a much more intimate feeling than the tables.
As for the food I have to say I did expect more. I have been to Polpetto many times (more than I'm willing to admit without torture or free beer) and that was what I was expecting. Overall the prices seemed a bit high for what you get for it.
Coming in and sitting down at the bar we were served a cup of popcorn. The flavour of the day was cayenne pepper giving a nice kick to the popcorn. I only had water to drink after a very wet evening the day before so I can't really say how the wines are but judging by Polpo and Polpetto I would expect them to be very nice.
First dish to come out of the kitchen was the Truffled Egg Toast. I've read quite a bit about this one and unfortunately it didn't really live up to my expectations of it. For me it was like toast with an egg yolk, bit of cheese and a sprinkling of truffle oil. It was all very nicely cooked I have to say but really nothing more than I could make at home quickly for weekend breakfast.
After that the Duck Ham, Pecorino Salad and the Spicy Sausage, Lentil & Radicchio. The salad was nice but just nice. It was good though to have something green. The spicy sausage on the other hand was really the highlight of the dishes. It had a very interesting combination of flavours that I can't actually really describe but it was very tasty and superbly balanced. It had a bit of bite to it, not all the time but now and then you have a bite that brings it out. I definitely recommend this one.
The Zucchini, Chilli & Mint Pizzetta was also one of the highlights. Both the mint and the chilli were nice subtle additions to the taste of bread, cheese and zucchini. I do prefer the pizzettas from Polpetto though as they feel less like a shrunk down, miniature version of a pizza than this did.
Finally the Shoestring Fries came in quite a big portion and were tasty. For me though I love the zucchini fries from Polpetto so this didn't really live up to that. This is only in comparison though, taken on their own they make a nice addition to all the other dishes.
In conclusion... I took a star off for the food being good but not what I was expecting and more expensive than I though it was worth, then added one back for the interior and the thought of how it would be in the evening having some drinks there.
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