What was da Polpo is now nominally aligned with its siblings in Soho and Smithfield; otherwise, little else has changed in this Covent Garden eatery. Beyond the bright-green facade, the studied couldn't-care-less interior of chipped tiles, murky lighting and scuffed walls remains – as do the rustic small plates, heavy-duty cocktails and no-nonsense carafes of decent wine. Everything tempts on the menu, but polite staff often seem preoccupied and the food can disappoint: underdone arancini balls, over-spiced meatballs and lukewarm cotechino sausage with mealy borlotti beans suggest a kitchen too busy to care. Best to stick to ‘simple but delicious' fail-safes including fritto misto or spinach and parmesan pizzette topped with a poached egg. For dessert, avoid the measly baked peaches with over-whipped cream in favour of boozy tiramisu. Note: this branch takes bookings from 12N-6pm.
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