It was the Italian Saturday. We had been to The Glamour of Italian Fashion and we were about to die of hunger.
I had heard really good things about an Italian around Soho but seeing how it was all booked (pre-theatre dinner anyone?) we decided to try somewhere else. Browsing on my phone I remembered having read nice things about Polpetto (couldn’t remember what things) and so we headed that way.
Let me be blunt. We were extremely taken aback by the environment. We are talking about a long corridor of a restaurant with tables extremely tiny and very close together. I did read that it is all re-claimed furniture but when it’s arranged the way it is, it’s just not as impressive. A very low ceiling with very minimal natural light does not help let me tell you. Then the menu comes in horrible plastic sleeves. The staff were very serious (I am not mentioning this as a good thing) and assumed we knew that this was a ‘sharing’ style restaurant. I loved it when they were explaining to a couple next to us how it all works in the tones of someone who knows they are working in a very cool restaurant.
First impressions, not good.
Then, the food came.
What can I say. Among other things (didn’t take a photo of the menu like an idiot) really amazing burrata with agretti and chilli which we made disappear in what felt like seconds. But the revelation was the beef shin strozapretti. Am I allowed to say mouth watering? I am writing this a few days after sitting at my mum’s table in Greece and I long for that taste.
The food critic between us has this theory about Polpetto: These are simple ingredients, expertly combined, with excellent taste. Apparently the chef, Florence Knight, agrees:
The new Polpetto will celebrate simplicity, flavor and texture (…) My cooking will focus on fresh ingredients that will be simply prepared. Nothing is overdone or fussy. This simple approach to food has captured my imagination and will form the basis for the evolving menu at Polpetto.
The food trumps everything I didn’t like about the place, hands down. I want to go again, and bring friends and just taste the whole menu. We went last Saturday, it’s Thursday and we are still raving about how excellent the food was.
Here’s a bit of the gossip too: If you go downstairs you will see a great big table, in front of the open kitchen (this is GREAT but you would be stuck with people going back and forth as the toilets are just behind the table). Walking back from the ladies I heard a lovely lady offering coffee to the rest of the staff as she was making some for herself. It was the chef. Good on her, she makes such great stuff she would be entitled to just lie down and order coffee from Brazil.
Disclosure: We went to Polpetto on 12 April 2014 and paid our bill in full. No prior discussion with the restaurant took place.
11 Berwick Street
London W1F 0PL
020 7439 8627