I do love a good midweek lunch in Soho. And a few weeks it was to Polpetto I went. If I’m honest 10 Greek St was my first choice but it was full and I thought we’d make a change from the ever reliable Prix Fixe.
Part of the Polpo family Polpetto is a tiny little spot on Berwick St – the home of Soho street food vendors. It was oddly quiet, the fruit and veg men were there but there were only one or two street food stalls, which I thought odd for a sunny day. And Polpetto was half empty, which again surprised me given how cool and trendy this place is. Although the food works for a lunch time, I don’t think the room does, it’s dark, really dark – unless you sit at one of the two tables in the window.
We settled in and ordered the chickpeas with Parmesan and rocket flowers, Hake with kohlrabi and some sort of seaweed thing. Crab linguine and braised beef shin with strozzapreti. Oh and some bread.
The chickpea dish was lovely, let’s face it, unless one is vegetarian one very rarely eats chickpeas that aren’t in the form of houmous (my phone just did an autocorrect to Hounslow….) or they find their way into a tagine – both of which are delicious. But to have a dish based around them is fairly new to me and it was fab, they were soft enough to squish in your mouth without trying too hard but not mushy and the citrus really brought out the flavour of both the chickpeas and the cheese.
Then the hake. I’m struggling to find the words for this. It tasted of nothing, no seasoning had been near that plate. Well, sorry, I could taste the lemon juice but the hake was in chunks and it looked like the dish was a sort of ceviche, but the fish was tough and tasteless. Surely ceviche needs a stronger flavoured fish/shellfish? Which is why Salmon and scallops work so well?
At this point we added some bread to our order and three huge thick slices of lightly griddles focaccia arrived, this was great but to be honest some bread with a bowl of oil would have sufficed. It was good though, I’m just moaning.
Moving swiftly on, the linguine and the beef. Both absolutely delicious. A good amount of crab in the linguine with a sauce that stuck to the pasta. The beef shin with strozzapreti was divine. It was rich without being too much to handle and I could have quite happily eaten 3 plates of the stuff.
So, on the face of it Polpetto is great. The food was good, the decor as I’ve said, is more suited to evening time and the service is obviously good – as with any of Russel Norman’s restaurants. But in my (humble) opinion is just didn’t quite do it for me. I know by saying that I’m going against every foodie in London – and that obviously means the entire world. I’m probably being overly critical but given there are those of you out there that say it’s the best thing since sliced bread, I think I expected more, of what I’m not sure, just more, oomph maybe?
I think I ought to go back for dinner.
Or I’ll stick to Polpo or Spuntino both of which I have absolutely loved.