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30 October 2014
Spuntino is a tiny, tiny little restaurant just off Brewer St in Soho. Most of the chairs are set up at the large counter and there is seating for about 27 people. Needless to say, they’re part of the initiative that will not allow pre-booking. In fact they don’t even have a telephone. I’ve mentioned before how I really dislike that policy because most of the time, the length of the wait far outweighs the quality of the food, but not here. The food at Spuntino is exceptional.
The entire restaurant is a large rectangular counter, with seats ranged round it. It’s small menu is a mix of simple, straightforward food – Croque Monsieur, salads, sliders, steak and eggs, pizzetta. It’s not fancy but it is basic food prepared very well. Sometimes it feels like a lot of new restaurants have forgotten to do that.
My friend is vegetarian and since we were sharing, we had the zucchini, chilli and mint pizzetta, the pickled onion rings, Spuntino slaw and mac & cheese. I’m not a fan of zucchini (or courgettes, whatever name they take) but the pizzetta was just amazing The courgettes were perfectly combined with the other ingredients so all the flavours married together. It was very light too. I was honestly ambivalent about the onion rings but then I’ve never been a fan and though they were tasty, I didn’t love them. My friend did though. The slaw was crisp and because it hadn’t been diced into the usual very small pieces, the flavours were really clear and very good. It hadn’t been diced to death and there I think the most impressive and wonderful dish was the mac and cheese. It’s surprisingly easy to get mac and cheese just a little wrong. Too much heavy cheese, or too many fancy ingredients and it becomes a chore to eat. This was perfect. It was the exact right balance of pasta and cheese and whatever else they added to it. Just brilliant. I’m getting hungry thinking about it.
All that food combined with a very reasonably priced bottle of white wine.
The service is impressive. Not because they’re attentive – though they are but then they are slightly trapped in that middle area with the diners surrounding them. The service is impressive because even though there were people waiting, not once did I feel I was being pushed to hurry up and vacate my stool. They’re efficient and friendly too.
It’s incredible how one single restaurant visit can either entice you to try other restaurants by the same chef/restaurateur or else completely sour you on the entire experience. I haven’t tried any of Russell Norman’s other ventures but if this is the quality of food and service I can expect, then they are definitely now high on my list. Spuntino is the very best of diner food and I wish we had more like this in London.
21 July 2013
Amazing food, attentive service. Will definitely come back again!!
18 July 2013
Had a brilliant night here with friends – we weren't in a rush so queued down the side with a bottle of wine and chatted away. Really lovely food – taken old american classics and turned it into bite size tapas. worth a visit
11 April 2013
We arrived at just after 6pm and were seated immediately in an area away from the already full bar. I was glad of this as the bar area was soon filled by the rapidly forming queue and made it very cramped.
Service was good, a little slow initially perhaps but not too much, and as I was expecting to be rushed through to seat others it was actually a surprise. Perhaps they were serving drinks to those in the queue and were therefore kept busy.
For the two of us we ordered the four sliders between us, a portion of shoestring fries each with a bottled lager and a coke. The fries were well cooked to a delicious crisp and tasty. The sliders were all tasty too, but didn't stand out from any burgers I've eaten outside of the well known fast food joints. As a result, a small burger (and the two sliders would make a very small burger) and fries with a coke for over £15 is not good value.
That is the impression we were left with of Spuntino. The food is tasty enough, but not as good as they think (and its prices indicate they thinks it is very, very good). If prices matched the simple food they are serving I would've been more impressed but whilst people are queuing out the door to see and be seen in the uber-cool setting they have no reason to change and who can blame them.
We left feeling we'd not eaten a full meal and for nearly £40 for two for a very simple meal that is not cool. As a result Spuntino's isn't either despite its efforts to be so.
24 September 2011
There's a semi-secret feel to this place on a slightly dodgy cobbled street in old school Soho. Inside diners sit at a horseshoe bar, with the queue forming behind you. Terrific food in small plates, decor's lovely, overall vibe is wonderful. Staff are cool but not too cool and happily push cocktails your way. If they took reservations, I'd be here ALL the time – as it is, you can wait 45 mins for a table at peak times.
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