Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spuntino - a place not to take your friends

One visit to Russell Norman’s new bar Spuntino and I was smitten so why on earth should I say you shouldn’t take your friends? Because you’ll stand a much better chance of getting a seat if you don’t, that’s why.

I swung by at 6.30pm on the offchance and got sat straight at the bar. That’s the way to do it according to Norman - good advice in a place that only has 26 covers.

Those of you who are familiar with Polpo and Polpetto will feel entirely at home with the carafe wine and cichetti (bar snacks) formula which sees some tempting new variants on the theme.

I had to try the much hyped Truffled Egg Toast - a truffley sort of Buck’s Rarebit - and wasn’t disappointed but also liked the fresh, zesty duck ham (duck ham?), pecorino and mint salad with peashoots and the look of my neighbour’s stack of Brick Lane salt beef. Other dishes that have received plaudits are the house pickles, egg and soldiers, lardo and caperberry crostini, eggplant chips with fennel yoghurt and, above all apparently, the mac and cheese which I failed to order. Drat!

Even so the food is not entirely what you go for. All Norman’s restaurants are cool but this is ubercool in a part of town - the sleazy side of Soho - that is definitely on the up. There are no reservations, no phoneline. There isn't even a name over the door. (It's at no 61 Rupert Street just off Shaftesbury Avenue.)

My only gripe is that the minimum amount of water you can buy is a 75cl bottle - not so good for sole diners for whom this is otherwise the perfect venue.

Incidentally I never mind eating by myself, especially at the bar. Do you feel the same way?


  1. Was the duck ham raw? The tiny slices of raw cured breast and fat, almost half and half, that they sell in Spain are delightfully chewy little things.

  2. Keep intending not to read any more about Spuntino till after the marathon but it's all too irresistible. Going the day after the run and don't plan to leave until I'm kicked out.

    Hoping to go with someone special but equally content on my own with a book for company.

  3. I'd quite happily revisit spuntino on my own. In the daytime with a book, in the evening there's no way you'd see the pages. I cant see them kicking you out James, they dont seem to mind people lingering, we didn't feel at all rushed despite the growing trail of expectant diners.

  4. Well it was delightfully chewy Joshua so that must be the one.

    Very impressed with this marathon thing, James. Reckon you deserve to spend a week in Spuntino

    And no you don't feel hassled @arbaggs and I agree it would be hard to read a book at night. But I'm not sure it would have the same atmosphere during the day. Maybe I'll have to test it out just to try that mac'n'cheese

  5. This always makes me jump a bit when I read about it because my dad's cafe was (still is, but not his anymore) called Lo Spuntino. Just for those that don't know it means 'snack/small bite to eat'.

  6. How lovely to have a dad who had a café - no wonder you're into food! Have you been yet?