Spuntino has landed. Smack bang in the naughty part of Soho, amid the peep shows and porn shops, this is the latest offering from Russell Norman and Co, the brains behind Polpo & Polpetto, both of which have taken London by storm.
I hadn’t anticipated going so early, certainly not on the first day, but I was walking past yesterday and spied a seat so I nabbed it. You’ve just got to, no? As a result, you will have to forgive the photos as I didn’t have my camera, and they are taken with my horrible little phone, s,oto compensate I have gone a little AWRTY. Yawh.
There is lots to love about Spuntino. A large counter dominates the room with one table at the back and a long small shelf down the side allowing those in the queue to munch and imbibe. Original tiling crumbles on the wall, and it has a cosy and almost industrial feel. It has a great energy, even when not particularly busy.
The service is very good, the menu is quirky and interesting, and very well priced too. Good drinks, I loved the Nero D’Avola served in 250ml carafes. The cocktails are very good, not overly sweet. Do try the terrific Jerry Thomas Manhattan. Shots of Dewars are a crazy £2 too.
Food is the small plates you would expect. Once seated you get an enamel cup of popcorn, a fun touch. I loved the beef and bone marrow slider, tiny moist and intense, it tastes of only MORE. Soft shell crab with tabasco aioli was a treat although more tabasco for me please, or on the side at least. Truffled egg on toast was sensational, with a hole scooped and with the egg inside, the egg white is actually Fontina cheese. Swoon. Egg with soldiers is like a scotch egg without the meat, I spied it across the table and will order next time I go.
The calamari with chicpeas and ink were gloopy and delicious with tight firm chickpeas. There are farmhouse cheddar grits, an extremely comforting soupy polenta style American dish which I have never seen on a menu here before. Other dishes which didn’t leave as much of an impression were eggplant chips with fennel yogurt which although very nice, were not a show stopper, and beets with salted ricotta and rocket was a pleasant side and a good counter to the slider and crab.
Desserts are fun. An ice cream peanut butter and jelly sandwich was terrific and the sashimi like pineapple with licorice ice cream looked great too.
I loved it, I want to go back, and I will often. I just hope that I will be able to cope with the inevitable queue. I had lots to eat, and plenty of wine too, and my bill was identical to what I spent at Nopi without alcohol. No contest, I know where I will choose, unless Nopi reduce their prices and make it more accessible. Please please do!
Spuntino, 61 Rupert St