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25 July 2014
(menu)

Polpoone star

41 Beak Street, London W1F 9SB

£31.00 Italian , Small plates Soho

Overall Diner Rating

 

Based on 28 ratings. Rate it!

  • Wine: £17.00
  • Champagne: £66.00
  • Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 12N-11pm (Sun -4pm)

Square Meal Review of Polpo ?

Russell Norman’s original take on a Venetian bácaro has spawned siblings and imitators across the capital, but Polpo’s queues still start early, whether you’re after a hit in the overflow Campari bar downstairs or a berth in the warmly lit dining room. The genre-defining mix of ‘rough edges’, brick walls and deliberately scuffed plaster, with brown-paper menus and glass tumblers atop worn tables feels too ‘cool’ for some, but great-value small plates win over most punters: try gooey arancini or anchovy-and-chickpea crostini, followed by rich meatballs on spaghettini or cuttlefish in a silky black-ink risotto – a dish that enjoys an evangelical following. Carafes of house wine(served in three different sizes) keep the bill from climbing, as do competitively priced all-Italian bottles. On the downside, ‘brusque’, scatty service can sometimes rub customers up the wrong way, however.

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  1. Polpo

    41 Beak Street, London W1F 9SB
    Overall rating:
     
    Alice G.
        (6)
    1 of 4 people found this review helpful.

     
    • Food & Drink: 10
    • Service: 10
    • Atmosphere: 10
    • Value: 10

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  2. Polpo

    41 Beak Street, London W1F 9SB
    Overall rating:
     
    Emyr T.
      Gold Reviewer  (26)
    1 of 2 people found this review helpful.

     
    • Food & Drink: 7
    • Service: 7
    • Atmosphere: 7
    • Value: 8

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  3. Polpo

    41 Beak Street, London W1F 9SB
    Overall rating:
     
    Sabrina's Passions
      Gold Reviewer  (93)
    3 of 5 people found this review helpful.

     
    • Food & Drink: 6
    • Service: 3
    • Atmosphere: 4
    • Value: 4

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  4. Polpo

    41 Beak Street, London W1F 9SB
    Overall rating:
     
    Partenope
        (1)
    2 of 4 people found this review helpful.

     
    • Food & Drink: 3
    • Service: 3
    • Atmosphere: 1
    • Value: 3

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  5. Polpo

    41 Beak Street, London W1F 9SB
    Overall rating:
     
    Mitzie8cake
      Gold Reviewer  (87)
    3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
    Editor's pick

     
    • Food & Drink: 8
    • Service: 7
    • Atmosphere: 7
    • Value: 7

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  6. Polpo

    41 Beak Street, London W1F 9SB
    Overall rating:
     
    Amy M.
        (6)
    1 of 4 people found this review helpful.

     
    • Food & Drink: 8
    • Service: 8
    • Atmosphere: 4
    • Value: 5

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  7. Polpo

    41 Beak Street, London W1F 9SB
    Overall rating:
     
    Richard E.
      Platinum Reviewer  (129)
    8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
    Editor's pick

     
    • Food & Drink: 8
    • Service: 8
    • Atmosphere: 7
    • Value: 10

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  8. Polpo

    41 Beak Street, London W1F 9SB
    Overall rating:
     
    Victoria
      Gold Reviewer  (18)
    5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
    Editor's pick

     
    • Food & Drink: 8
    • Service: 7
    • Atmosphere: 8
    • Value: 10

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  9. Polpo

    41 Beak Street, London W1F 9SB
    Overall rating:
     
    Max H.
        (1)
    1 of 2 people found this review helpful.

     
    • Food & Drink: 10
    • Service: 10
    • Atmosphere: 10
    • Value: 10

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  10. Polpo

    41 Beak Street, London W1F 9SB
    Overall rating:
     
    Marcus B.
        (1)
    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

     
    • Food & Drink: 9
    • Service: 9
    • Atmosphere: 10
    • Value: 10

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  1. Polpo! A restaurant in Beak Street that has been on my list of places to go for about five years. Polpo is Russell Norman's take on a Venetian Bacaro serving small plates of delicious Italian favourites. The interior of Polpo is shabby chic with rough wooden floors and tables and exposed brick walls; the effect is rustic, laid back and inviting...
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  2. Published : Wednesday, 8th January 2014

    Livelifelovecake :: Chats and Nibbles at Polpo, Soho

    When my friend KK needed someone to speak to and no one else was available, I offered my ear even though I wasn’t feeling at all well suffering from a mild chest infection. A quick dinner wouldn’t hurt I thought and may even leave me feeling slightly better. In appreciation, KK agreed to go to tapas-style Italian, Polpo, even though she hates sharing. There are a few Polpo restaurants in London with this one being in Soho. We arrived early as you cannot book and the place is hugely popular, luckily we were shown to a table straight away. The room was dimly lit and packed full of couples and groups of friends, I really liked the vibe but it was impossible to take quality photos due to the low light so a pain for bloggers like me (I hope the new camera I got for Christmas means I will no longer have this problem!)...
    More from Livelifelovecake »

  3. Published : Tuesday, 3rd December 2013

    Nomface :: Polpo, London

    On a cold Friday night after visiting the opening weekend of Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park we were looking forward to a bowl of hot ramen at Tonkotsu in Soho. Especially after nearly freezing to death in the -12C temperatures of the ice kingdom with wonderful ice sculptures. We knew we were chancing it on a busy Friday night but we didn't expect to be ignored by five members of staff who showed absolutely no interest in greeting us at the door. The scenes inside were not any better, one drunken customer was even slumped face down at one of the tables. This put us off greatly and we soon left shocked at the service or lack of. Shame really as I have since had a decent ramen at Tonkotsu East, recently opened in Haggerston...
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  4. Published : Friday, 9th August 2013

    Life of a Londoner... :: Polpo

    Polpo has taken London by storm and now serves its Venetian delicacies in three different locations. The name describes the place perfectly - 'a humble restaurant serving simple food and local wines'. It couldn't be more spot on. The relaxed atmosphere is what I like most about Polpo. Friendly staff from the moment you walk in serving warming and delicious foods that silences a table...
    More from Life of a Londoner... »

  5. Published : Friday, 9th August 2013

    S.W. Foodie :: Polpo

    Polpo has taken London by storm and now serves its Venetian delicacies in three different locations. The name describes the place perfectly - 'a humble restaurant serving simple food and local wines'. It couldn't be more spot on. The relaxed atmosphere is what I like most about Polpo. Friendly staff from the moment you walk in serving warming and delicious foods that silences a table...
    More from S.W. Foodie »

  6. Published : Thursday, 25th April 2013

    fatmanclaphand :: Polpo: octopricey

    A great night, but Polpo's not a great restaurantBack when i was trying (failing) to become a music journalist I did a rather cringing stint at the brilliant theQuietus.com, a music website for people with discerning but "acquired" music taste. I turned up all fresh faced, eager to impress, with a list of bands that the great John Doran needed to hear.It turns out he had heard of all of them, and proceeded to explain why each of them were "absolute shite". John and I didn't agree on a thing, but he taught me the most important lesson any critic, or indeed person, can ever learn."Most things you review are going to be average."So if you use that as base for reviewing restaurants you will walk out a much happier man, whatever the experience. If it was crap, you can rightly vent; if it was brilliant, you are sated and delighted; if it was average, you can say "That reminded me of Polpo", and then smile.The man who founded Polpo is an ex-Ivy man and it shows. He knows how to create a mystique, an identity. More than ever, restaurants are about restaurateurs not chefs, about atmosphere not food. Polpo is a testament to that. The bar downstairs where we waited for our table had loud trendy music, a tattooed barmaid who makes mean and alcoholic cocktails and the walls are slowly, artfully falling down. They told us we'd have to wait 45 minutes for a table, then found one after 20 - somehow managing to make us grateful.They sat us so close to our fellow diners we were bumping elbows and poured our (very nice) wine into tiny little tumblers. The menu is simple, so simple you're not quite sure what you're ordering. I was also bemused by the fact that my pizzette cost "7.5". What currency was never made clear, nor how I could halve it, short of biting a coin in half. In the end they charged us £7.50 - which seemed a bit steep given the size.Anyway, our Fiorentina pizzette was absolutely delicious, and we also ordered a slightly bland but nonetheless enjoyable mackerel tartare (how you make raw mackerel bland is beyond me, so props to the chef), some very moreish spinach and ricotta balls and slices of lovely oily focaccia. Sadly the dish I was most looking forward to, the ham hock, as salty as licking Lee Evan's face and almost inedible. You shouldn't need to season a  stew around ham hock, let alone with a whole brick of salt – although at least that explains why the cheapest cut on a pig somehow cost £9.Still, I was so stuffed the better half and I decided to share a pudding. And it was a damned bit of luck we did, given that the nutella pizzette - which we ordered despite the carb fest of the mains and more out of curiosity than hunger - was bigger than the plate. It was also literally buried (and I write this with a great big smile on my face) with nutella, nuts and I think popcorn, but it was never too clear. Anyway, it was the first true bit of invention and, like all good inventions, filled a gap you didn't even know existed. Like a new lover you never knew you were missing.So it seems that Polpo is a great pizza restaurant and a fun bar, where good food doesn't seem to be the focus. Not quite the Venetian Bacaro they were aiming for. The problem is that at £80 for two, it's not quite the humble, community restaurant Bacaros are meant to be. I'm sure the owner would point to Soho rents rather than any greed on his part. But then my answer would be don't make your community in the W1 postcode.The fat man claps his hand, but unusually he's not really sure why.   
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Essential Details for Polpo

  • Address: 41 Beak Street, London W1F 9SB
  • Telephone: 020 7734 4479
  • Website:
  • Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 12N-11pm (Sun -4pm)
  • Capacities: Private room for 18 people

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