Comfort eating or destination eating?
Apparently, there’s a Russell Norman/Richard Beatty restaurant out there for you… whether it be Polpo/Chichetti, Polpetti, Spuntino newly opened Da Polpo. Each offer a slightly different proposition and my flavour of the moment is Spuntino. Nestling in Rupert Street, the halo effect of becoming a twitter food haven in Soho, has brought two new openings of Bubbleology (Taiwanese flavoured tapioca Tea) and Madd (mango dessert/drinks).
Both have a distressed finish to them, aged with love and beautiful details such as: bag hooks under the bar tables, the old fashioned gum machine and most of all the menus printed on brown paper. Spuntino, for me has an intimate feel to it a cross between a Italian-New York Diner, even having NY style black filter coffee for the offing, but I wish they’d get a machine in! Ink (in the tattoo form) are part of the staff attire, one could liken the staff to the Gogol Bordello punk-rock group. In fact a few months ago, there was some friendly rivalry between them and Hawksmoor, asking twitter followers to vote for their favourite ‘ink’ work… go figure!
Food wise it’s comfort eating at its best, wholesome, heart-warming food, with service with or without a smile depending on who is serving. I can’t really complain on the 6 occasions I’ve been to Spuntino I’ve not had to wait longer than 10 minutes for a seat (no reservations, walk-in only) and the service at both has been knowledgeable and on the whole courteous. Da Polpo is a livelier and larger venue (with booking available in the day only) specialising it seems in meatballs galore.
At Spuntino, my favs include: Truffled egg toast (decadent with oozing truffle infused Fontina cheese), Sliders – Ground beef & marrow Slider (moist and juicy), Spiced mackerel (with piquancy of horseradish), Eggplant chips with fennel yoghurt (fresh tanginess that cuts through the batter) and finally dessert of Brown sugar cheesecake with grappa prunes (a boozily sumptuous treat).
Da Polpo favs include: spicy pork & fennel meatballs (the tastiest that I had) and the Tiramisu pot (like diving into cup of heaven).The Bellini Sgroppino also caught my eye, but alas it awaits it’s turn for another visit…
Be aware of: There are only 26 seats at Spuntino so go there early for lunch/dinner or off peak
Take time to: Have an aperitif, the Clover Clubs & Negroni’s are much recommended or for Da Polpo pop over the road to Rules, for a cocktailda Polpo 6 Maiden Lane
London, WC2E 7NA 020 7836 8448 http://www.dapolpo.co.uk/ Spuntino 61 Rupert Street London, W1D 7PW No telephone http://spuntino.co.uk/