A bit of background in case you haven’t heard about this place. Polpetto (means “small octopus” in Italian) is the smaller, younger sister of Polpo (“octopus“) which opened in Soho to fantastic reviews. Little sister Polpetto is above the French House on Dean Street, a pub full of character and rammed to the rafters with squiffy media types, so named as it was home to the expat French resistance during the war (I love the French House – it gets a mention in my homage to Dean Street here). Both make Venetian bacaro food – shared small tapas-style plates (many of you will have eaten this in Venice. I went to Venice and ate in McDonalds, which is why you should never go to Venice as a skint student). Both have a no-reservations for dinner policy which is good for them but means I have tried and failed to eat at Polpo several times.
Relaxed, retro and romantic inside
However, Emmissima and I went to Polpetto at around 7pm last Friday and got a table straight away, a nice one by the window. In fact there were no groaning queues the entire time we were there. And it’s lovely inside – you wander up narrow wooden stairs past old framed photos to a small, intimate, dimly lit restaurant which could be in Brussels or Paris, filled with couples and friends. (Apparently it looks like a New York West Village resto too – am long overdue a trip). I was impressed that even though it was busy, you can take your time to eat, there’s no rush or hassle or table-turning nonsense that can ruin an evening out. So we ordered a bottle of Sangiovese (£16.50) – which you drink in cute little wine glasses – and went about ordering.
We started with polpetti (£3) and white bean crostino (£1) – both delicious but tiny which was understandable if you consider the price. Then the flank steak with rocket and white truffle cream (£7) which was absolutely gorgeous – perfectly tender meat and the truffle cream was delicious. Decent sized portion too. And then a bit of a wierd one – I ordered cuttlefish in its ink (£7.50) because (a) I have never to my knowledge eaten cuttlefish nor (b) anything cooked in its own ink. This was a bit of a mistake – the cuttlefish was lovely but the ink was black and thick and gloopy and stained our tongues and lips and teeth. I also had flashbacks to ingesting half a fountain pen refill capsule at school and panicked a little bit. Probably a bit over-inky and in any event not something to order on date night. I’m still glad I tried it though. We finished with proscuitto and fig bruschetta (£7.50) which were again simple and delicious.
White bean crostino (lovely but order more than 1)
Bloody delicious flank steak with white truffle cream
Cuttlefish (nice) in ink gloop (stained entire mouth and still pulling out of teeth 3 hours later)
Delicious proscuitto and fig bruschetta
All in all it was £48 or £24 each for all this food and sharing a bottle of wine and we whiled away a nice relaxing two hours in the process. I will definitely be back to try more things in the menu – first on my list is the osso bucco with rissotto and the chilli prawns.