Within a couple weeks of opening, daPolpo is already trending in 3rd spot on Urbanspoon's most talked about restaurants in London. The reason why it is the talk of the town is because it is the highly anticipated, fourth restaurant from restaurant entrepreneur Russel Norman (others being Polpo, Polpetto and Spuntino, and so far all highly successful).
daPolpo is similar in its decor to the others, with bits of exposed brickwork, stainless steel bar tops with low overhanging lamps, and a general cosy atmosphere. The concept is simple; a traditional Venetian wine bar, with a New York edge.
The food: Italian, small plates made for sharing
The wine: Italian, including some smaller producers (also amazing looking cocktails)
The menu: less risque and simpler than its brothers (i.e no squid ink cuttlefish gnocchi like at Polpo). This was a deliberate move to accommodate the taste of such a touristy London location. However, no less tantalising to the taste buds, and a great addition to the area!
|Chilli and garlic prawns £6.50|
We went for a selection of dishes, nearly one from each section. The chilli prawns, from the 'Plates' section, to my dissapointment, were oh-so slightly overcooked. Just a little dry on the palate. The flavours, and the sauce however, were supurb. Very enjoyable.
|Grilled Mortadella, Gorgonzola and pickled ridicchio Pizzette £6|
|Spicy pork and fennel, and Chickpea spinach ricotta £5|
|Tiramisu Pot £4.50|
The Service: outstanding. As we only had an hour for dinner, we sat at the bar. As I arrived, I was greeted by a smiley and bubbly hostess and led to my seat. The bar man, who also doubled as our waiter, was chatty, friendly and helpful with the wine and the food. He wanted to ensure that I was entirely satisfied with my wine selection. He listened to what I normally like, made suggestions and let me taste before I made a choice. If I was dining on my own, the bar would be the perfect place, as I was made to feel right at home.
Not that this place needs recommendations, but I will be recommending it.
Update: Coming back for the second time, and this time a lot later and with a couple more people, we sat in the restaurant. At 10pm on this night, daPolpo wasn't entirely busy, but still buzzy, and therefore the slowness of the food coming up from the kitchen at this point was not justified. Further, our waiter took our order without writing it down, impressive it would have been if he got it right. Some plates were forgotten. The food was still good, and the staff were all super friendly, but on this occasion the 'service' let me down.
Tweet Russel Norman now has a book. I must get it!