More than 10 years down the line, readers still can’t enough of Bocca di Lupo’s buzzy “sense of fun”, its “outstanding” Italian regional food and its terrific list of all-Italian wines.
The bijou rear dining room is adorned with paintings by owner Jacob Kenedy’s mother Heidi Becker, and it crams in the tables – creating a slightly “chaotic”, “noisy” but thoroughly enjoyable vibe. Alternatively, pull up a stool at the long marble bar and “watch the action” as chefs beaver away in the open kitchen.
The menu may look pan-Italian, but this isn’t your stereotypical jaunt through the regions; instead, the kitchen takes delight in digging out really “authentic” and often obscure specialities, which are mostly served up as small plates. There’s bruschetta topped with slivers of lardo, honey and shaved walnut from Piedmont, plus various fritti romani (sage leaves filled with anchovy, for example) and – for the brave-hearted – an Apulian dish of exquisite tissue-soft tripe braised in a rich tomato sauce with borlotti beans and rosemary.
Other favourites include gutsy Italian sausage served with gnocchi, and proper Sicilian caponata – a sweet pile of sweated peppers, aubergines and celery soaked in sweet-sour agrodolce sauce and topped with breadcrumbs. For dessert, there’s gelati “to die for” (courtesy of Gelupo across the road), not to mention cannoli as good as you’d find on the streets of Palermo.
And to drink, pick from a cocktail list drenched in vermouth or native wines served by the carafe, all dispensed by charming Italian waiters who exude passion about their own region of Il Bel Paese.