Thursday, September 29, 2011 at 7:02PM
Faced with the familiar situation of yet another Saturday night with no reservation The Boyfriend and I ended up at Polpetto. Barrafina, would be the normal choice in this situation, but we felt like going outside the box.
Prior to that Saturday, the fear of queues had always put me off Polpo and Polpetto, so we turned up at a cautious 6:45, expecting to wait 45 minutes or so. We were clearly too pessimistic as we were seated immediatelyand the restaurant was half empty. The place is tiny so there was a grand total of 8 of us having dinner. The set up is almost identical to da Polpo and Spuntino, and yet it is still a nice change to almost every other restaurant inLondon. Some menu items have overlapped with da Polpo, as expected.
Meatballs - pork and fennel - were a classic, gorgeouscombination, nowhere near as good as the ones at Meatballs itself. The richtomato sauce was equally good.
Pizette bianca, which we had experienced at da Polpo, was muchmore satisfying the second time around. In this case, the veins of purple onion, were softer and complemented the cheese.
Some type of pasta with crab was the highlight of the meal. Leftto do its own thing, along with chilli, parsley and a buttery sauce, the comboclung to each strand, coating every inch with a fantastic fresh crab flavour. Ididn't expect to find pasta at Polpetto, and certainly not such great pasta -it had been a while since a pasta dish had ticked every box like that.
We ended the meal with quail, which I found boring but The Boyfriend enjoyed. It was just too plain in my opinion to be particularly interesting.
The meal came to a higher than expected, £55, which I guessproves the whole small plates-thing really doesn't end up that cheap, especially if you consume two carafes (250ml) and a bellini . Nothing notable about service, they were on the whole attentive and just like Spuntino managed to avoid any feeling of rushing us. I wouldn't put it in my"restaurants to think about in advance box", which is good because itdoesn't need to be, but instead in the "reliable, casual, easy restaurants"- along with Opera Tavern and Barrafina. It is a mid-week place, but probably notideal for a Saturday night. Polpetto's main strength, is its individuality, however, with Russell Norman restaurants popping up all of the place, the novelty of the experience may wear off.