On my recent trip to London, I had a long overdue meet up with my childhood friend, Tasha. I should mention she’s a food blogger at londonpaleokitchen.com and a soon-to-be qualified naturopathic nutritionist - so she knows her stuff when it comes to finding healthy yet super tasty yum!
Anyway, she took us to Polpo, which is a Venetian bacaro - basically Italian for ‘wine bar that serves food’, and ....
It’s officially my favourite lunch stop in London…(thanks Tash!)
Rustic backstreet venetian glamour with pretty chandeliers where you can sit down with a white wine spritzer and some top-notch nosh. Plus, it’s right down the road from Foyles bookstore, so it’s the perfect place to cosy up with a coffee and snack after book shopping.
It’s easy to find - just opposite the Palace Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue (you can’t miss it, look out for the massive sign that says Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which just recently started running).
And it’s one of a number of a of outlets, scattered around London (Soho, Covent Garden and Smithfield, Chelsea & Notting hill have an outlet, so do Brighton and Leeds outside of London).
Anyway, Polpo means octopus - and awww…That Octopus! So mesmerising, captivating, looks like he could be on the cover of a best selling deep sea adventure novel. :D
So, Venetian tapas was a first for me. I loved its almost effortless rustic interior, stripped wood, bright streaks of turquoise overrun by dirty off-white, the textures and mix of wood …the menu, seemingly simple, but what an incredibly satisfying explosion of flavours! Did I mention it’s received the Michelin Guide's Bib Gourmand for the last six consecutive years? :)
Anyway, we sampled but a small portion, and I can’t wait to come back for more!
We tried the Lamb Meatballs - moist, tender meat with this amazing tomato-based sauce.
The Spinach Ricotta Balls were equally delicious! I decided to double up on the divinity, going back again two days later because ... yes, I am a creature of habit. I strongly believe if you find a gem, its worth going back twice and thrice especially if your hunger pangs are not to be messed around with…(grump-ahoy!)
Plus, there is nothing worse than settling for mediocre, meh, meals when you have a craving or sudden stab of tingles and growls.
Nutella Pizza sprinkled with almonds? Peach Panacotta ?
Oh yes. That’s what I call desert.
If it's a lunch date or a long catch up session with friends ... I’d also say go wild and have some white wine spritzer with your meal, and then wrap it up with a nice cup of coffee.
Alternatively, if you are a fan of ale, the Ape & Bird pub has a range of delicious brews on tap right behind, so there's plenty of options!
So in summary. If you find yourself in Central London. Or any of the other Polpo hot spots in England, check them out!
And if you can’t - for obvious geographical reasons, like not being in these locations - Polpo also have a gorgeously bound and delightfully illustrated cookbook ! So you can slam together their Yums from the comfort of your own kitchen and feel super classy while you do it!
Polpo at Ape & Bird
Venetian tapas restaurant inspired by the gloriously faded elegance of Venice with simple but flavourful wholesome food and a very decent price range.