Spuntino

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.

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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.
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Popcorn witb 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Beet salad

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.
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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]
Essentials
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.
8/10
Links
If you like reading this you might be interested in my reviews of Russell Norman’s other ventures Polpo and Polpetto.

Spuntino on Urbanspoon

Posted by: on March 30th, 2011     18 Comments »

Category: Restaurant - Bar, Restaurants - Italian, W1D
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18 Comments on “Spuntino”

  1. LondonRob said at 8:07 am on March 30th, 2011:

    Spot on review and love the photo of (the lovely) Ahmed. Thanks for a great dinner – Spuntino definitely felt like a bloggers’ paradise last night!

  2. Greedy Diva said at 8:07 am on March 30th, 2011:

    Ha – Thanks for seconding my call for hand bag hooks! Particularly called for here with all the people milling about behind. But great snaps and write up – you’ve summed it up perfectly (although I think it’s my favourite of all 3 of the siblings).

  3. Anonymous said at 9:11 am on March 30th, 2011:

    Funny, I found hooks (for my coat rather than handbag) when I went. Love the review although I felt the ricotta was a little too rubbery in texture for my palate. Planning to go again for lunch today (will be my fourth trip – thinking of moving in there….)

  4. Natasha Claxton said at 9:19 am on March 30th, 2011:

    You tried a few different dishes to us and your post has left me salivating – must go back and sample the wine list (noted the good prices and a great selection of serve sizes n the mini carafes so we can taste more than one!) Maybe they might offer some other beers, too, although the Meantime hit the spot last night.

  5. An American in London said at 10:36 am on March 30th, 2011:

    Just read Greedy Diva’s writeup and agreed with a call for handbag hooks (more bc I like to see them at all bar-seating places rather than bc I’ve been to spuntino, specificaly).

    What time did you go and how long did you have to wait?

  6. London Lady said at 2:38 pm on March 30th, 2011:

    Wait! you can’t mention something like Nutella pizzetta but not post an image of it! Guess that is my extra incentive to go….. soon.

  7. Amy said at 4:07 pm on March 30th, 2011:

    The truffle egg toast and mac & cheese is literally my idea of food heaven – the photos make me want to lick the screen!

  8. Helen (Grab Your Fork) said at 4:41 pm on March 30th, 2011:

    Ha don’t you love it when you get hospitality staff who feel left out when they don’t get a photo? Ahmed totally reminds me of Johnny Iuzzini!

  9. Helen said at 7:07 pm on March 30th, 2011:

    The handbag hooks are definitely there! Fear not.

  10. Jo said at 8:55 am on March 31st, 2011:

    I agree with London Lady! I was drooling just thinking about the Nutella Pizetta…you tease!

  11. Hanna @ Swedish Meatball said at 9:35 am on March 31st, 2011:

    I loved Spuntino too – mac & cheese blew my mind and whooaaa cute staff!

  12. Niamh said at 10:22 am on March 31st, 2011:

    It’s lovely isn’t it? Perfect time to go (f you can) is mid afternoon when it’s nice and quiet. Very relaxed dining then!

  13. Gourmet Chick said at 9:10 pm on March 31st, 2011:

    London Rob – Thanks for sharing a great meal with me Rob

    Greedy Diva – Glad to catch up briefly although it seems we were mistaken about the hooks!

    Anon – I think the salad was probably the least exciting of the dishes

    Natasha – Lovely to meet you briefly and I agree the carafes are a god send for working your way through a wine list

    An American in London – We were wrong apparently about the hooks. Got there at 6.20 and had to wait 20 mins but line very quickly got very long. I would say arriving there between 7 -9 would mean quite a long wait.

    London Lady – sorry I am a bad blogger!

    Amy – food heaven for sure…

    Helen – He was quite a personality

    Helen – So I have now discovered. I am blaming too many glasses of vino.

    Jo – It was good – sorry it was so dark by then I think it would just have been a blur – a good excuse to go back!

    Hanna – I know that was great mac and cheese

    Niamh – I imagine it would be a bit more cruisy at that time

  14. Tina@foodboozeshoes said at 6:13 am on April 1st, 2011:

    OMG – I think I’m in love with that truffle cheese toast. Yep, it’s lust!

  15. Anonymous said at 9:01 pm on April 9th, 2011:

    Any way of complaining about this place ? would have complained when i was there on Friday but i was ignored so pointedly so just left.

  16. Gourmet Chick said at 10:00 am on April 10th, 2011:

    Tina – It’s a good combo!

    Anon – Sorry to hear that I guess the best place to complain would be the management if service was an issue for you.

  17. Jeanne @ CookSister! said at 4:45 pm on July 20th, 2011:

    OMG!!!!!!!!! AHMED!!!!!! He lived next door to me for 9 years – I am still good friends with his mum! That’s utterly hilarious to find him unexpectedly staring back at me from your blog. He is a treasure, isn’t he? [Ahmed, if you are reading this, you can buy me a beer! ;o)]

  18. Gourmet Chick » Blog Archive » Getting carnivorous at Meat Mother said at 12:22 am on May 6th, 2013:

    [...] been to London recently you’ll recognise Meat Mother.  The fit out is very similar to Spuntino in Soho with a large central bar, exposed brick walls and low lighting in the form of single [...]


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