You know that feeling when you love a place before you have even been there? That’s the sort of feeling I had with Spuntino. Eating there was a bit like meeting your best friend from school’s best friend from uni. You always know you are going to love her before you even set eyes on her. After all you have so much in common, like Spuntino’s sister restaurants from the restaurant genius that is Russell Norman, Polpo and Polpetto. If you love them, you have to love Spuntino, which is very much the younger sibling. Spuntino is just a little bit newer, a little bit cooler and a little bit smaller than its sister restaurants.
Our waiter Ahmed – a legend. He requested a photo of himself after spotting me trying to snap the food.
Upon renovating the space in Rupert street Soho, the owners discovered the beautiful tiling from an old butchers shop. Along with the pressed tin roof (a Polpo and Polpetto signature) the tiling helps give the feel that Spuntino has been there for years, just living in the shadow of the rest of its family and waiting to be discovered.
Popcorn with paprika which arrives as a complimentary touch as soon as you sit down – good stuff
I dined at Spuntino with the lovely Rob who writes the blog London Stuff. The only seats were in a u-shape around the bar which meant service was attentive but sharp elbows from the hungry people queuing for a spot behind those eating could lead to a bit of a pressured dining experience. It’s a shame because Spuntino’s menu was one to be enjoyed in slow increments with plates of sharing foods supplemented by tumblers of wine. To start the egg and soldiers (£3.50) was a little like a scotch egg without the sausage covering. Witty and comforting it was just my type of food. To add a little greenery to the meal, a salad of beets, salted ricotta and pistachio (£5.50) was a winner although the pistachio was a bit overwhelmed by the strong competing flavours.
Egg and soldiers
From the “Sliders” section of the menu the mini burger filled with beef and ground marrow (£5) was hearty and just the sort of food you crave after a few glasses of wine. However the pick of the sliders was the lamb and pickled cucumbers (£5) which tasted almost like moussaka in a bun. Fragrant but filling it was truly delicious.
Slider with beef and ground marrow – otherwise known as an oh-so-cute mini burger
The dishes getting the most air time so far are the mac and cheese (£8) and truffled egg toast (£5.50). Both are deserving of their excessive praise. The mac and cheese was a sterling example of the classic dish, all creamy, cheesy, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth pasta topped with a crisp bread crumbed topping. The truffled egg toast (£5.50)was incredibly intense. I defy you to eat a serving single handedly as the combination of the egg, cheese and truffles is super rich. Thank god I had Rob to help me out.
Truffled egg toast
To finish off we had the Nutella pizzetta (£5.50) which was a bit of a guilty pleasure but still delivered in terms of a crisp, billowing pizza base topped with the moreish chocolate and nut sauce.
Just like Polpo and Polpetto wines came served in small, medium and large carafes which allowed us to sample the Rosato Bardolino Monte (£17), a delicate rosé, along with two small carafes of the house red, the extremely drinkable Polpo merlot (£11). We were guided in our selection by the, so cool it hurt, waiting staff with their seemingly compulsory armfuls of tattoos. They may have been unfailingly trendy but they were also charming and knew exactly what they were doing. A special mention to Ahmed who looked after us and was personality and charm personified.
Inside Spuntino – see it is tiny! Play spot the food blogger if you can….
As long as you get there early or late in the evening, are prepared to wait, and preferably arrive in a group of two or less, you will love Spuntino. Don’t expect refined cooking but do expect hearty bar snacks and small plates that hit the spot. For my money, I prefer Polpo and Polpetto for a more leisurely experience, but for a quick bite or a fun boozy night, Spuntino is a winner.
PS – I am seconding Greedy Diva’s call for handbag hooks under the bar at Spuntino. I actually felt around for ages trying to see if there were any and probably accidentally groped the person next to me in the process. I ended up spending the evening with my handbag hooked around my ankle. I am not usually so paranoid but I was sitting next to the door, which was open, on a bar stool. Please help Russell. I am considering a petition! [Ahem – correction – apparently there are hooks at Spuntino just both Greedy Diva and I seemed to have great difficulty finding them. I am blaming the carafes of wine for that]
Details: Spuntino, 61 Rupert Street, Soho, W1D 7PW (There is no telephone and Spuntino does not take reservations).
Damage: Pricey. Our bill came to over £55 each.
If you like reading this you might be interested in my reviews of Russell Norman’s other ventures Polpo and Polpetto.