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Chef Florence Knight has been the breakout star of Russell Norman’s Polpo group and the relocation of Polpetto from a
rickety room above the French House pub to standalone premises has been greeted with more excitement than the
usual chain expansion. It helps that Knight is a Soho local who knows what switched-on urbanites want to eat: daintily portioned cavolo nero and croûtons in a toothsome anchovy dressing was a
standout from the short menu when we visited, ably supported by scallops with cauliflower purée and silky lardo, hare pappardelle and maple tart – although quirkier ideas such as pickled parsley
root and wet polenta have more limited appeal. There’s a snappy Italian wine list too, though Aperol- and Campari-based cocktails are an equally good match for the food, while the narrow, gently
lit dining room has a charm that the hipster staff sometimes lack.
One of my best boys is literally down the road from my place of work and luckily is into food (and restaurants) as much as I am (possibly even more so!). It was a Friday and wanting to treat ourselves (and ourselves lucky if we were to get in) we popped down to the newly reopened 'Polpetto' for a spot of lunch. Luck happened to be on our side and we arrived just before the Polpetto rush at 12:30pm and were seated straight away at the bar. Another place to be inspired by décor the ceiling is stunning (one can only dream!) and like her sister restaurants it's stripped back, bare and basic goodness!...
More from S.W. Foodie »
The credit for the rise of the no-reservation, sharing-plate, shabby-chic contingent of restaurants must go to Russell Norman, also a pioneer in the concept of Italian tapas. His first restaurant (Polpo) opened in 2009 closely followed by Polpetto, Spuntino, Mishkins, and Ape and Bird. Polpetto charmed diners from 2010-12 in Soho and is back in new premises on Berwick Street. If the hustling queues outside Normans restaurants are anything to go by (try getting a table at Polpo at a reasonable eating time, I dare you), then this new restaurant format is a clear winner.Until recently, Norman beavered away at the restauranting business behind the scenes. This year, the BBC show ‘The Restaurant Man’ sees him sharing his wisdom with novice restaurateurs. In one scene, Norman attempts to motivate one flagging wannabe with an insight into the thought and detail which goes into restaurant design. At Polpetto, we see the fruits of his meticulous examinations in the form of pressed tin ceilings, neat fold-away bar stools and carefully draped lamp shades...
More from Wrap Your Lips Around This »
Originally established in 2010 on Dean Street, Polpetto, has made a comeback after a two closure, in its now larger premises on Berwick Street.Polpetto is a bÃ caro - a Venetian word to describe a humble restaurant serving simple food, and good, young local wines. We arrived early on a Saturday evening to avoid the crowds, and were comfortably seated in our cosy little cubicle at the back of the restaurant. The place is low lit, with quaint bar tables lined at the front along the side at the bar area, and dining tables along the back. As always, we asked the waitress for some recommendations from the menu, and ordered a few small plates to share.I wasn't particularly very hungry, after a late lunch and a whole afternoon of nibbling, so this was ideal. | Negroni Sbagliato |They served both the standard negroni, as well as the lesser known version on the cocktail menu - the Negroni Sbagliato. Sbagliato means "messed up" or "mistaken" in Italian, hence Negroni Sbagliato is said to be the result of an accident by the bartender who mistakenly used sparkling wine (eg. prosecco) instead of gin in Negroni. Being a fan of prosecco and all things sparkly/bubbly, I was curious to try it - the taste was more subtle, and needless to say, I really liked it. | Beef shin strozzapreti |Delicious pieces of beef served on strozzapreti, which are an elongated form of hand rolled pasta.This was my first time trying this variation of pasta, which intriguingly enough means "prieststranglers" or "priestchokers" in Italian (!)Apparently, when strozzapreti was first invented, they were first served to the priests, who found them so good that they devoured them so quickly that they choked.Probably also resulting in some cases of indigestion - Gaviscon probably wasn't even invented then... | Clams, wild garlic, creme fraiche |Clams served in a lovely creamy sauce. | Raw spinach, mustard, orange |Refreshing with a nice sweetness from the oranges. | Kid & broad beans |The meat was really soft and tender - my favourite dish of the evening. | Fried pecorino & honey |The name sounded really really familiar, but I just couldn't put my finger on it at that time...But when it was served, I then remembered that it was similar to the Seadas served at the Back Door Kitchen's Sardinian supperclub last year - and how much I loved it!Not sure if the origins are the same, but I would be happy to have any type of version. I only wished that there was more to devour... Overall, a simple and pleasant meal - casual and relaxed ambience, delicious Italian-inspired food, and prompt service.Address: 11 Berwick Street, London W1F 0PLTel. No.: 020 7439 8627 Opening hours: 12:00-23:00 (Mon - Sat) ; 12:00-16:00 (Sun & Bank Holidays)
More from Dancing In High Heels »
Russell Norman is one of London’s most intriguing restaurateurs. You may have seen him in his BBC2 series, The Restaurant Man, in which he uses his considerable charm to try to imbue novices in the game with a little common sense. He built his reputation as Operations Director for the Caprice Group and since then has created a small but perfectly formed group of restaurants in the West End ranging from Spuntino, a New York-style Italian joint, to Mishkins, a faux Jewish deli-style restaurant. The beating heart of the operation is Soho’s Polpo, styled as a Venetian bacaro, which launched the trend for highly stylised small plate eating. They are fun, buzzy places with distinct identities and have helped define the London scene over the last few years. Polpetto, a younger sibling of Polpo, opened in the legendary dining space on top of the rather louche French House pub in Dean Street. At the stove was the chef Florence Knight whose food soon met with wide critical acclaim. Now moved to larger premises in Berwick St, reviews have ranged between the adulatory and the average so I thought I should see for myself...
More from The Hedonist »
One of my best boys is literally down the road from my place of work and luckily is into food (and restaurants) as much as I am (possibly even more so!). It was a Friday and wanting to treat ourselves (and very lucky if we were to get in) we popped down to the newly reopened 'Polpetto' for a spot of lunch. Luck happened to be on our side and we arrived just before the Polpetto rush at 12:30pm and were seated straight away at the bar. Another place to be inspired by décor the ceiling is stunning (one can only dream!) and like her sister restaurants it's stripped back, bare and basic goodness!...
More from Life of a Londoner... »
Restaurateur Russell Norman has said several times ‘In a restaurant, service is as important, if not more so, than food. You can rescue an average food experience with excellent service, but no amount of good food will rescue a bad service experience.’ It couldn’t be more true and it’s a quote that we often recall when visiting a restaurant that fails to deliver on one or the other.A good friend, Keith, kindly offered to take me out for my birthday. This isn’t something that happens to me often (not talking about you Keith, I mean in general). These offers are tricky, you can’t choose somewhere too expensive and it should be somewhere the person that’s paying would enjoy too, well I think so anyway. Like me, Keith’s a big fan of the Polpo group and Florence Knight‘s newly relocated Polpetto had been on my list for several years. So after a lengthy social media poll, that was where I decided upon...
More from We Love Food, It »
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...
More from Stuff by Sofia »
Polpetto is set to re-open its doors after a small hiatus. After the original venue proved to small and the restaurant’s 23 seats were always oversubscribed.Polpetto occupied the first floor of the French House pub on Dean Street for two years with Florence Knight at the helm. During that time it attracted critical acclaim (“amazingly good… flawless… perfect” – The Telegraph) and gained a massive following of fans.Florence Knight returns to the London dining scene as executive head chef of the new Polpetto on Berwick Street, which opened on the 10th February 2014. She will to continue to showcase her unique brand of meticulous seasonality and simplicity...
More from Ultra Vie »
When Polpetto originally opened in a tiny room above the French House on Dean Street in Soho, it was my favourite restaurant. I remember osso buco and a steak salad with truffle dressing; the food was always brilliant. When it closed I was rather shocked, as I thought it would be there forever. Luckily for me however, Russell Norman (he’s The Restaurant Man on BBC2, if you’ve been watching) has re-opened this Venetian restaurant serving small plates, round the corner on Berwick Street.It was a small and fairly narrow space but beautifully done out. There was a bar with ingenious stool seats that pull out and tuck away (you’ll see what I mean) at the front and very tightly packed tables out the back, with a few more downstairs opposite the open kitchen. During our Saturday lunch time visit the atmosphere was very pleasant indeed – chilled and relaxed...
More from Samphire and Salsify »
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