Food and drink
Simple rustic Italian food that’s a bit hit-and-miss but well done for the price. Sharing lots of small dishes is encouraged, though some such as linguine don’t work neatly for that purpose. We loved the spinach and egg pizzetta, and cuttlefish and squid ink risotto. Least good was braised lamb with farro, which was surprisingly thin on flavour because the ingredients didn’t taste as though they’d been allowed to get to know each other.
Shabby chic with peeling paint and exposed brickwork. Super-noisy too. Punters are packed in like sarde, sitting elbow-to-elbow at most tables: it makes for an energetic buzz though you might feel you’re hearing too much of the next couple’s conversation at times. Don’t even think about bringing the kids.
They lost our booking but handled that slip well and otherwise proved to be sweet, knowledgeable and efficient. Note that bookings are only taken for lunch.
Just off Carnaby Street, so handy for Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus.
Eating lightly or extravagantly is up to you: cicheti start at just £1 for anchovy and chickpea crostino, but rise to £12.60 for a plate of cold meats. Cooked sharing dishes of meat and fish are £5.30-£8.40, so allow £25-£35 per head for a filling meal with drinks.
Polpetto, a tiny sibling with only 28 seats, sits above the French House pub in Soho – see website for details. In June another offshoot, da Polpo, is scheduled to open on Maiden Lane in newly hip Covent Garden.
- Culture vultures