I’ve been wanting to have dinner at Polpetto for quite some time now. It opened in 2010, around the same time as its sister restaurant Polpo, but then shut in May 2012 in order to find a larger space. It evidently took a while to find the perfect new home for Polpetto, but they did a good job.
It reopened in February, which I had not realised. So when I walked past it recently, I got a bit overexcited.
I am a fan of Polpo – I love the small plate sharing concept and the ‘Bacaro style’ wholesome home cooked style of the food. I actually thought Polpetto was even better.
The decor is simple, cosy and a little quirky (the tea cosies over the lamps above the bar for example). I loved the booths with more intimate tables too. It wasn’t as packed as I thought – probably because of its location on Berwick street, just off soho’s beaten track.
We got a table at the back and were served instantly. A bottle of tap water and the menu. The food is Venetian Italian, the choices far from your standard pizza and pasta. The cook is the much lauded rising star Florence Knight and she did not disappoint.
This is what we ordered:
*Focaccia to start. Which funnily enough, despite it’s simple nature, was one of my favourite dishes. The olive oil they used is sublime and the bread so fresh and nicely grilled. I just wanted to eat more and more.
*Beetroot, goats curd and sorrel – which we later realised was not a salad but a dip, so we ordered more focaccia ( which certainly wasn’t the end if the world). The dip was delicious and fresh.
*Lamb: Almost like a tiny carpaccio – thinly sliced lamb with raisins and pea shoots. Good but not incredible.
*Crab Linguini: Doesn’t look hugely appealing but it certainly was delicious. The crab was not overpowering and the pasta wasn’t stodgy. It was light and zesty. Perhaps could have done with a bit more seasoning.
*Polenta: One of Italy’s national dishes, so I couldn’t not try it. Northern Italians lived on it for centuries and it is still a big part of their daily diet. This version was like porridge – very creamy and thick, it almost tasted like you were eating a yummy white sauce. Probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but I loved it.
*Pudding – we couldn’t resist the Panna cotta. The perfect consistency – not too much gelatine and not too much cream. A good vanilla taste. And the orange cognac goes well with it too. We shared it but I could easily have eaten it alone..
We ordered a bottle of the house red (£18) which is the same as Polpo’s and easy to drink. It complements the dishes well.
Overall I was not disappointed, which says a lot as I was so looking forward to it. There were no queues, the service was efficient and friendly and the portions generous. I left feeling full but not uncomfortably so.
Next time I pass it I’m popping back in, even if it’s just to have more of that focaccia…
11 Berwick St, London W1F 0PL
020 7439 8627