Food: Polpo

Table for Two

I’ve already mentioned that Polpo is one of my favourite restaurants in London and now I’m going to recommend it as a place to take a date.

It’s inspired by the charming bàcari of Venice, humble backstreet bars that serve good Italian wine and small snacks known as cichèti: start with the stuffed fried olives. Founder Russell Norman trawled the crooked calle (streets) of La Serenissima before opening the first branch on Soho’s Beak Street – in the former home of Venetian painter Canaletto no less – in 2009. Now there are 10.

The menu offers a mix of small and large plates. There are pizzas/pizzette, from bianca (with two white cheeses and thyme) to cured pork shoulder and pickled pepper. Pasta dishes include pappardelle with beef-shin ragù; meatballs ranges from lamb and mint to chickpea, spinach and ricotta; and the likes of chilli-and-garlic prawns and roasted sea bream with fennel, shrimp and capers give you a taste of the seafood.

So what are you waiting for? Start with a spritz or bellini at the bar and then hunker down for the evening at a candle-lit table for two.

Polpo, 41 Beak Street, London, W1F 9SB.

Photo: Chloë Ashby.

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