loti eats | polpetto
Polpetto has been a Soho fave for a good few years but even a classic needs a bit of TLC once in a while and that’s exactly what the restaurant has just had. The interiors have been redesigned; the bar area with those fold-away stools is still up the front, with booth seating and more spaced out tables down the back, and a 16-seater chef’s table looking into the kitchen downstairs. The red shopfront, black-and-white photos on the walls and antique lamps give it that vintage feel without ever veering into gimmicky territory – it really does feel like you could be in Venice.
The menu has had a total makeover too courtesy of new head chef Anthea Stephenson (formerly of the River Cafe, Sketch and The Jugged Hare). It changes seasonally and has a mix sharing plates, pastas and larger plates – there’s quite a sharp increase in price when it comes to the dishes under that last section, and although they obviously feed more, we reckon you get more bang for your buck sticking to the first two.
There’s confident cooking on show here, with just three or four ingredients per dish, which just lets the quality of the produce shine. We loved the sprouting broccoli with ricotta and walnuts and the chargrilled squid with puntarelle and radicchio, which came with an excellent punchy dressing to offset bitterness of the leaves. The gnocchi with Tuscan sausage and sage was our fave from the pastas, just beating out the chestnut tagliatelle with girolles in terms of moreishness, and the veal osso buco with polenta and cavolo nero was Italian comfort food at its best.
The concise wine list is new too and they’ve got biodynamic, low-intervention and natural bottles on there, with Polpetto’s classic cocktails still present and correct. There may have been lots of changes but Polpetto is as good, if not better, than it’s ever been and it’s still a great spot to have up your sleeve.
11 Berwick St, London, W1F 0PL