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Russell Norman has headed out west to Notting Hill for the latest branch of his big-hitting, Venetian style bácaro. The new venue follows the original Polpo blueprint to the letter – if it ain’t
broke, don’t fix it seems to be the thinking behind the trendy brick-and-tile interiors, the freewheeling approach and the hip ‘small plates’ menu scrawled on rough paper. As always, the food is
designed for sharing – from ‘cicheti’ snacks such as asparagus with mortadella and goats’ cheese or salame butter and broad bean crostini to various pizzette, spicy meatballs, fritto misto and
plates of grilled lamb with caponata and basil. Front of house is being overseen by Alexis Ross (formerly at Mishkin’s) and there will be plenty of Aperol spritzs to keep thirsts quenched – if tumblers and carafes of vino don’t
appeal. Bookings will be taken at lunchtimes, but evenings are strictly no reservations.
So, the Bavarian adventure is over. This means that I am now ready for London, round 2! And what better way to announce my return than by eating Italian food?I am constantly on the lookout for new and exciting restaurants (I have an Evernote notebook dedicated to the topic), and websites such as SquareMeal and Time Out, as well as various Twitter feeds, are really helpful in this endeavour. Before I moved to Munich, one place that constantly popped up was Polpo. The funny thing is, I had quite forgotten about it in the meantime, but I was walking around the Holland Park area with a few friends last week and spotted one of their branches. We were on the lookout for a late lunch/afternoon snack/early dinner/nibbles, so we quickly made our way inside. As it was mid-afternoon, we had no trouble getting a booth.The atmosphere was friendly, and when the waitress told us the concept of the restaurant was small sharing plates, we were delighted, as each of our appetites differed in size. One of us just had a dessert, and the other two shared 3 small plates...
More from The Swindian »
Apparently 2014 is the year of the soft launch for me, it started with The Fable, then it was Bravas Tapas and The Big Easy's Covent Garden branch. Soft launches are a great way for restaurants to work out the kinks and bugs by opening to the public but offering money off (generally 50% off food) so that even if there are issues, customers are usually more forgiving. It's also a great way to raise some buzz, as who can resist a cheaper meal out?The latest soft launch I attended was for the Notting Hill branch of Polpo to open (other branches are in Covent Garden, Soho and Smithfield). Although Polpo has been on my list of places to try for a while now, I've never quite made it there. So this was the perfect excuse. They were taking bookings for lunch, but not dinner. Wanting to avoid the inevitably long queues, I was on the phone as soon as the booking line opened, 108 phone calls later (over a relatively short 15 minutes) and our booking was secured for Sunday lunch...
More from Not Quite Enough »
I haven’t been to the original Soho Polpo. Like a foodie version of too posh to push, I’m just too old to stand in line. Not to mention impatient. And even though I am generally to be found right up there on my high horse about the no booking thing, I thought that it might not be entirely rammed in Notting Hill, given its size.This is number four in the chain that is Polpo, the others being in Soho (the mothership) Smithfield and Covent Garden. The brainchild of that most astute of restaurateurs, Russell Norman, he not only captures the zeitgeist, he often creates it.Polpo NH is a roomy, double-fronted restaurant, with a long bar on the right and a few tables outside, should you wish to sit and breathe in some carbon monoxide and study the local bus stop, whilst you eat. Al fresco dining on busy roads. I am afraid that I don’t find myself brimming with excitement at the idea of sitting outside, on a grubby, busy pavement in Central London, with passersby nosying into my dinner...
More from The Food Judge »
I haven’t been to the original Soho Polpo. Like a foodie version of too posh to push, I’m just too old to stand in line. Not to mention impatient. And even though I am generally to be found right up there on my high horse about the no booking thing, I thought that it might not be entirely rammed in Notting Hill, given its size.This is number four in the chain that is Polpo, the others being in Soho (the mothership) Smithfield and Covent Garden. The brainchild of that most astute of restaurateurs, Russell Norman, he not only captures the zeitgeist, he often creates it...
More from Saying it straight »
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