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?