Depends on which cheeks, I guess.
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Bocca Di Lupo Restaurant
12 Archer Street, London W1D 7BB
- Piccadilly Circus Tube Station (0.2 km)
- Leicester Square Station (0.4 km)
- Contact us:
020 7734 2223
25 reviews of Bocca Di Lupo Restaurant in English
Just magnificent. The best Italian food in London. Regional, seasonal, expertly chosen and expertly prepared.
Jacob’s cookbook, Bocca, rarely leaves my kitchen (the caponata is to DIE for) and it is pleasing to see the exact same sensibility, often even the same dishes, appear on the menu.
If possible, do try and sit at the bar. At least that’s my preference. It means you get to watch the staff do their thing. There’s a conviviality about it that you can sometimes miss when seated at a table.
The whole place, from the food to the wine list to the decor has a relaxed confidence that I find extremely appealing.
Whenever I’m out in Soho I’m either eating at Bocca di Lupo or wishing I was eating at Bocca di Lupo.
Little tip: skip the desserts and head across the street to Gelupo. It’s the perfect end to an evening out!
Comment 1 comment on this review
gordonwhite, 29 February 2012:
I should say first off that we ate the pre theatre menu. Got there about six being hungry in Soho and thinking it looked nice. Greeted by a very surly maitre’d who asked us if we had a booking (we did not) and said we could eat if we ate fast. We sat at the bar which is really cute because instead of barmen there are chefs, wouldn’t recommend sitting there if there are more then two of you (neck ache would incur).
Food was perfectly nice, I had pasta broccoli and my companion, pig cheeks and pasta. All and all a nice meal but we were in and out in 30 mins and did not appreciate the rude welcome. Would not my turn my cheek at going again but would book a table if I do so.
pictures and full review at www.grumblinggourmet.com
Now I have history with fried. Show me a tapas bar, a fine dining restaurant or a street-side snack joint and I’ll gravitate toward the section in batter.
BDL is a perfect case in point. A menu spanning the best parts of Italy available on a small plate. It could very well be the older, grown up brother that Polpo doesn’t have or a distant cousin for similarly light and upmarket Barrafina.
Admittedly it’s got a ‘build your own’ Frito Misto section and an obsession with the (literally) gutsier end of the pig, but in the main it’s a well brought up, properly behaved small plate Italian. Friendly staff in black buzz along the thick, light marble bar into the serious restaurant at the rear. If you’re only a two (or a very close three) then snare seats at the wide bar if you can. It’s well designed for flowing access behind you and relatively calm, even opposite the frantic kitchen, and doesn’t thankfully feel like either an afterthought or a corridor.
There’s plenty on the keenly priced sharing menu to tempt the non meaty. I could happily graze from their side dishes, and a small plate of plump, fresh broad bean tortellini was well executed and possibly life extending if not eye opening. But in all honesty, if you’re at BDL for a bite, chances are it’s going to be porky.
Most of the dishes come with two sizes, and even the small plates are reasonably proportioned. We started with plump olives, as green as snooker baize and a brace of sourdough bruchetta, layered with some of the sweet and seasonal broad beans scattered across several other dishes on the menu, here combined with salty thin shards of pig’s cheek and a deep umami laden jus. They paired perfectly with similarly seasonally apt courgette flowers, stuffed with mozzarella and lifted out of their slightly oily batter with the soft bite of anchovy.
If I were to throw a criticism, it’d be that oil. It slightly marred the courgette flowers and soaked deeply into the sheet holding the so-so Frito Misto too. Not a deal-breaker, but enough to make you regret another order of fried. You build your own frito from a small menu, baccalau was unctuous flaky battered pollack, whole squid gave great texture in the tentacles but over floured rings and bland aubergine, little more than an oil trap, let down the final dish.
Thankfully, and expectedly for a restaurant with its own ice-cream parlor over the road, they made up with the desserts. My guest took a trio of the homemade, fruit stuffed ice creams, here nestling in a toasted brioche roll, I went for Sanguinaccio, the devil’s own nutella, a thick chocolate paste with pine nut and pig’s blood from Abruzzo, the blood adding a dark note of sweet iron, lifting the dark cocoa to the heavens. I licked the bowl clean. I’m not a proud man…
Please refer here for some photos and more:
it happens that, when you have finished writing a post, you press a wrong button and everything is lost. (why does the auto-save only work when you don’t need it I wonder…). This happened to me with my truly excellent Bocca Di Lupo post and I am writing it now again with significantly less enthusiasm I have to say.
Despite my computer disability Bocca di Lupo deserves to be written up. I wanted to go there so many times already but never managed to get a table. This time however the queue in front of Spuntino was too long, so we moved on to Bocca Di Lupo located in a little Soho side street. After 20 odd minutes that we spent sipping prosecco and people watching we were finally seated at the bar.
I like the atmosphere at Bocca Di Lupo very much. It is stylish and down to earth at the same time, the patrons being a good looking mixed crowd of post-theatre and pre-party diners. From the people at the reception to the waiting staff, everyone was very friendly, attentive and forthcoming.
As the name already promises, Bocca di Lupo serves Italian food. I thought I would know or at least be able to translate most Italian dishes but when looking at the menu I realised that I had still a lot to learn. There were quite a few dishes I had never heard of and had not the faintest idea what they could possibly consist of. Provenance is a big issue as it is also stated in the menu from which Italian region the respective dish originates from,
I do really like the fact that you can order small and large portions of most dishes which makes the food at Bocca di Lupo ideal for sharing (or not sharing for that matter). It is not exactly cheap and some of the dishes (see below) are bordering on seriously overpriced, but there are enough dishes under 10 pounds to choose from that you can get away with a non-bank breaking bill when ordering carefully.
I had no idea what Crescentine, prosciutto sardo & squacquerone (7 small, 14 large) could possible be, so it had to be ordered. The ‘bread’ was reminiscent of fried pizza dough, still warm and very pleasant eaten together with the mild and creamy cheese (squacquerone stems from the Emilia Romagna) and the thinly sliced delicious prosciutto. This is comfort food of the highest standard.
I have to order a dish that promises to be ‘extremely spicy’, in this case the Orecchiette with ‘nduja (extremely spicy home-made salame) red onion & fresh tomato (7.00 small, 14 large). Finally a place in London were you get your pasta served al dente without having to fight for it and send the plate back 3 times! Again the thought of comfort food comes to mind. I have eaten more sophisticated pasta dishes, but this in its earthiness was rath enjoyable. Of note, it was spicy but not extremely so.
For some vitamines we chose the Broad beans, rocket, lemon & mint (7.50). This I really thought was overpriced. Not a bad dish and certainly healthy but slightly tasteless and absolutely not worth 7.50 pounds! Or are broad beans an expensive ingredient?
After so much green there had to be space for dolce . None of the usual suspects on the dessert menu – no tiramisu, no panna cotta and no zabaione. Again a lot of stuff I have never heard of and our choice finally fell on the Palle del nonno (6.50). 2 fried dough balls came filled with a hot chocolate/ricotta mix, faintly tasting of orange and this was unlike everything I have ever eaten before. It was quite nice but I don’t think I would necessarily order it again. In addition, 6.50 pounds is just overpriced for this, particularly also considering the presentation (or better lack of any).
In the end I did enjoy my visit at Bocca Di Lupo and I am intrigued to try more of their food. I was considering a green light and I would have given it, but the pricing seems a bit random particularly for dishes that can’t cost very much to make.
Went to Bocca di Lupo with a friend last Feb, and i wondered how i've missed this decent italian place in Soho for the past 3 years !
Soho, so it's perfect !
Food & Wine
Wine is beautiful, no complaint.
Most servings are not huge and that's a good thing. There are enough interesting items on the menu for one to order several dishes to sample. A little pricey but slightly above average quality (personally, I'd prefer that to cheap~ave prices but forgettable food).
Dessert, we wanted tiramisu, which is only available in large portion. We asked the chef and he kindly let us ordered half of the large portion (half is still large !). The tiramisu is lovely, and I am guessing the secret ingredient is dates ?? .........
My friend ate and drank more than her usual portion that evening, so that's a good attestation.
I had a table booked but we arrived 10mins late, and our table was given to someone else (granted they rang me earlier but i wasn't able to pick up the call). no problem as they offered us seats at the counter, which we accepted. It turned out to be a fantastic night, regardless, as the generous aussie guys sitting next to us at the counter shared their red wine, and we discussed philosophically what "short term, long term" is :D
Will definitely return, and recommend to a friend.
Great italian place with a well-balanced menu that ticks all the variation of cuisines of the peninsula. It's got my favourite fried soft-shell crab in London.
You absolutely have got to sit at the bar to marvel at how fast and slick the cooks are working to create the little magic of your plate.
And the best is the service which is absolutely impeccable and makes you feel super special: we got in late for our reservation and felt quite bad as the kitchen was about to close soon, yet the waiter offered us some prosecco to get us cracking on our dinner and revigorate ourselves from a mad run through the streets of Soho to get there in time.
We ate there in Feb'11. Chose 4 different half plates as oppsed to 2 mains. The nettle borage pansotti, cod cheeks and the fried prawns where good but nothing to get ecited about. My partner really loved the white polenta accompanying it. But the 3 cheese tortellacci was amazing with a burnt sugar and walnut sauce. Unfortunately only two small pieces so had to savour. Lovely prosecco and 2 gorgeous light reds Blauburgunder and Morgante Nero d'Avola. Dessert we had brioche with ice cream and a fresh donut filled with chocolate sauce. Again good but not exceptional. Would had preferred to go else where. Sat at a table at the back. If go again (unlikely) would be for the wine and to sit at the buzzy bar. Bill for 2 came to just under £90. Great wine, food good but way over priced.
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Slightly mystified by the hype of this place.
1. The food - most importantly, of course. Now, I'm speaking as a veggie, so I didn't get to try the meat/fish - perhaps this is where the restaurant shines. But even then, I'm always unimpressed by restaurants who can't manage veggie options well, particularly Italian restaurants. Now, that's not to say food was bad. The pasta was sublime, if a bit of a small portion for a large portion, if you get my drift. But the tapas-style starters? Very hit and miss - with more towards the slightly bland miss than the extra-tasty hit.
2. Ambience - cluttered, over-stuffed, loud.
3. Staff - noticeably honed in on high value customers to the detriment of others. The utterly smart architecty looking couple next to us got lavish attention, me and my not-so-scruffy dining partner? Fairly surly and inattentive behaviour. It couldn't have been more blatant - either they're underpaid and going after tips, or they're being instructed by management to lavish attention on people they think they can talk up on the wine list. Whichever it is, it's not being done subtly enough to not piss off other diners.
In the end, then, as I said at the top, this is slightly mystifying. It's a competent and occasionally brilliant Italian. But it's let down in several key areas and I won't be rushing to eat there again. If I want high ticket Italian food in central London, there's lots of other, better choices (Locatelli. Mmmmm...).
What a sublime restaurant nestled in one of the most chaotic parts of London. If you are looking for delicious food, fantastic ambience and divine service Bocca di Lupo is your type of restaurant. I can only think of glowing things to say about this gem - from the abundant choice on the regional/seasonal menu to the service. It's simply perfect.
I highly recommend sitting at the chef's counter so you can watch the preparation of meals - it's like a finely tuned symphony. Simply delightful. I've gone there three times, and I wouldn't hesitate in saying that it's my favourite restaurant in the city. A little pricey, but completely fair as going for a meal at Bocca di Lupo is a scrumptious and civilised meal experience.
This place was recommended by a couple of Italians I met recently in Tunisia. They considered it to be their favourite Italian in London & it was indeed very good. The bar area, in retrospect, would seem to be the best place for people & chef watching but we sat in the crowded & busy main part. Boy, was it busy for a Tuesday!!! Attracive & attentive staff & interesting regional food with only modest pasta offerings. Had a delicious cheesy & rockety risotto followed by some deep fried fish & seafood with polenta. Again, different & tasty. I thought the portions were a little small (always do though!) & the Moretti beer a little yeasty. Otherwise, well worth a visit.
Absolutely amazing authentic Italian food with many regional specialities - a treat of a restaurant.
Relaxed atmosphere at lunch - very good service - and very good Italian wine.
The best pesto I have eaten outside Liguria, lovely Italian veal sausages and I recommend the Agretti (Monksbeard) if it is still in season.
The menu with small and large portions allows a really good tasting menu across 3 or four people.
I cannot wait to return with my foodie Brother and over-indulge.
I would put it in the medium price range - but worth every single penny and more.
fantastic! would recommend to anyone. The service was brilliant, all the wait staff were friendly and we weren't rushed at all. Food was delicious, even though expensive. I'd rather pay good money and have food that I still dream about for days after though
wonderful food and relaxed vibe - I like sitting at the bar and just showing up instead of making reservations weeks in advance. My favorite Soho place is around the corner for after a good meal at Bocca - Snog Frozen Yogurt
A stones throw from the madness of Piccadilly Circus is an osias of calm and wonderful food.
Great light space with a long bar and tables at the far end (very small "pass" at the end of the bar which was pretty busy). No music but lots of lively chatter for a Monday lunch - Bacon would have approved!!
My Negroni was excellent as was the house white.
"Dishes" are available as small or large plates - small was great for me but if you are really hungry I would go down the small pasta, small meat plate route!!
Whatever you do have a small plate of the radish, celeriac, pecorino and truffle oil salad - at first impression not my idea of heaven ,but how wrong was I?! The waiter promised it would be the best salad I'd ever tasted and he was not wrong. Stuffed olives are not to be missed and the clams with butter beans was authentic and very tasty - a really light but zingy and spicy sauce with distincy and authentic flavours.
Staff are friendly and happy to talk about what they like on the menu - as opposed to sell you the dish of the day. A great place to while away a comfortable few gastro-hours.
9/10 Yet another reason why I love Soho. I'll be back!
Took my love out for a Christmas lunch (after shopping) here and we had a wonderful time. Service was friendly, the food is sublime - so good in fact I started writing down the ingredients of the salad I'd eaten. Convivial space with enough room between tables to have your own conversation, yet easy to lean over and ask your neighbour what they're eating. I would love to go back there tonight!
Bocca di Lupo - Pics @ The London Foodie
Intrigued by all the hype surrounding Bocca di Lupo, I called up my dear Italian friend and foodie extraordinaire Tea (short for Teodora) for a meal at this very trendy establishment. Despite booking well in advance, we managed to get squeezed in for a 6pm sitting last Friday, and were reminded on arrival that our bit of counter should be vacated by 8pm, and no later.
Bocca di Lupo is simply and informally decorated, tucked in on Archer Street, W1, one of the seediest streets in Soho. It was a runner-up in the Best New Italian Restaurants category of Time Out’s 2010 Eating & Drinking Guide and had received rave reviews by fellow food bloggers World Foodie Guide and Londonelicious to name a few.
The menu is not overly long or complicated, and clearly describes the Italian regions from which each of the dishes originate. I also enjoyed the possibility of ordering various dishes to share as opposed to having my own main course.
We started the evening with “Buffalo Mozzarella Bocconcini” @ £2.50 each. As expected, these were very delicious and creamy.
This was followed by “Crescentini (fried bread) with Finocchiona, Speck & Squacquerone Cheese” @ £5.50 (small). This was ok, although neither of us could taste the fennel in the fried bread, and felt that the accompanying portions of speck and cheese were rather meagre.
The “Shaved Radish, Celeriac and Pecorino Salad with Pomegranates and Truffle Oil” £5.50 (small) was one of the highlights of the evening. The flavours and textures were diverse but came together nicely in the heavily scented truffle oil. I really enjoyed this dish and would certainly order it again.
We ordered two of their pasta dishes, “Tortellini with Cream and Nutmeg”
£8.00 (small), and “Tagliatelle with Pigeon and Pork Ragu” £7.00 (small). They were both good although to my surprise, the vegetarian option was the better of the two. The simplicity of the tortellini was refreshing, with the flavours of cream, cheese and nutmeg completely unadulterated and delicious. The Pigeon and Pork Ragu was also good and rich.
The best dish of the evening was undoubtedly the “Sea Bream Baked in Salt” @ £16 (whole fish). The salty crust in which the fish was baked helped to season the flesh to perfection. It was reminiscent of Baccalá but without the chewiness and dense consistency of this salt-dried fish (cod). A true revelation.
To accompany the fish we ordered a portion of “Grilled Radicchio and Asiago Cheese” @ £6.50 (small). The radicchio had been seasoned with balsamic vinegar and tasted sweet and slightly charred with the melted Asiago cheese (reminiscent of parmesan). We did not think it was an outstanding dish.
For dessert, we ordered the “Rum Baba with Pineapple and Whipped Cream”
£5.50 and the “Brioche “sandwich” of Hazelnut, Pistachio and Chestnut Gelati (ice cream)” £7.00. These were again fine, but rather unremarkable.
I do not know if our mixed experience at Bocca di Lupo was because of my unduly high expectations or possibly because of the impersonal but efficient service we received. The food was good but not outstanding. I would like to give Bocca di Lupo another try when some of the hype finally quietens down.
Verdict – Good Italian food at medium prices in Soho. Impersonal but efficient service. At £126.56 for four, Bocca di Lupo was relatively good value but hardly a bargain.
I had tempered my expectations before dining at BDL, but I still felt sort of let down. Perhaps this was because so many respected food journalists had opined with such flattery about its merits and virtues. Or perhaps it is because we just didn’t order right. I do hate the notion of not ordering the ‘right’ thing, though, as restaurants just shouldn’t put ‘wrong’ dishes on the menu. But I don’t think it was this either. I think it was just the feeling that, with a few minor adjustments, the food could have been so much better. So maybe it was just an off service in the kitchen, who knows. That said, what is clear is that BDL certainly serves up decent Italian food at reasonable prices (for central London) in a very appealing and comfortable dining space. And the menu is good fun too.
The staff were all very pleasant, but we did find ourselves waiting around for long periods of time for someone to notice that we wanted or needed their attention. These often long gaps were all the more strange given that the restaurant wasn’t even half full for most of the time we were there. Maybe they just lost focus as it was the end of the lunchtime service, but I can’t imagine them being so lax in the middle of a completely packed out restaurant.
Despite all of these niggles, I still did like BDL and would return, but certainly won’t expect the world. For me, BDL is just a good, casual Italian restaurant serving reasonably priced food in a fun atmosphere – not the ‘wolf’ the press has made it out to be, devouring all other Italian establishments in the city of smoke.
WENT BACK again last night. Bloody fantastic food and superb service from very busy wait staff. The Ricotta gnudi with lamb ragu was simply perfection. Cannot remember the wine, but the recommendation was faultless.
Anywhere with a long busy bar where you can watch the chefs at work gets my votes. Actually, I would only want to sit at the bar here as I think the table area lacks atmosphere.
I was impressed that they served a mean aperol spritzer - order one if you like an orangy sparkly pick me up for a drink.
Stunning bread, but that is what you would expect from a son of the Sams at Moro. I think it is the same recipe and probably from the same sourdough starter. Very yum.
Food stunning. For me, the dessert won it. Almond and blood orange granita with bitter chocolate ice cream. Hit every note perfectly.
Bookings are hard to come by. Try for a late bar seat, say 9.30-10.00PM if you can wait that long.
Beautifully unusual dishes using inspired combinations of underused seasonal dishes. We chose to have lots of smaller dishes, only dish that didn’t hit it’s mark was salt cod (which I found a little too salty (yes I know!)) but my partner loved it. Great advice from the wait-staff too. Shame that there were a few people that abused the 'who’s next’ system of waiting! Other than that, great.
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