da Polpo is just a little bit less cool than it’s sibling restaurants. Russell Norman’s first foray outside Soho is located in the more touristy Covent Garden, is easier to get into thanks to the larger space and even the staff seem slightly less cool with a notable absence of tattoos.
|The entrance to da Polpo|
The pizzette was also a hit. As the name suggests it was a mini pizza on a crisp, thin base. The pork shoulder and pickled pepper version (£6) was a great combination and I liked the charring on the pizza and the addition of pickles to a pizza as well.
Our favourite dish was the most simple. The heritage tomato salad (£5) featured an assortment of beautifully coloured and varied tomatoes drizzled in lashings of olive oil and a hint of vinegar. It was pure summery perfection on a plate.
|Heritage tomato salad|
We also loved the chilli and garlic prawns (£6.50) a favourite from Polpetto with the prawns dripping in hot oil. The prawns were helpfully shelled and the oil was addictively good.
|Chilli and garlic prawns|
We weren’t as impressed with the grilled asparagus (£7.50) which were over cooked and topped with buttered eggs and asparagus. The eggs were very loose and runny and only accentuated the floppiness of the asparagus. The potato and parmesan crocchetta (£1.50) also lacked a bit of zing but dished up a good textural contrast with their crisp exterior and creamy filling.
Despite those few tiny faults the food was great and right up there with the Polpo, Polpetto and Spuntino offerings. da Polpo does lack a bit of the atmosphere of Norman’s other restaurants probably because it is bigger, brighter and lighter. It is my least favourite of the four restaurants but I still loved it and would be back in a flash.
Details: Da Polpo, 6 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, WC2E 7NA (Ph 020 7836 8448) Tube: Embankment. Bookings taken during the day but not in the evening .
Damage: Reasonable. We paid £70 between three including a couple of beers each.