Polpo (Soho)

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Tapas style food, cocktails and a great wine list – what more could you want?!
I met a friend for supper last week and as usual it was a difficult decision trying to decide where to go. We had decided on somewhere in Soho as it was convenient for both of us and there is an abundance of restaurants there. Narrowing it down to Soho didn’t help too much though as there are still so many places there! I’ve written before about Spuntino (https://munchandbrunch.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/spuntino-soho/) and although it’s a one off, the same people also own a few other restaurants including Mishkin’s (a wonderful Jewish deli style restaurant and I will definitely be reviewing it soon!) and also Polpo. Polpo was the first of the restaurants from these guys and they now have a few branches, it’s probably the most well known and whenever I mention it to friends most of them have been there. I’ve been to the one in Covent Garden before but not for a year or two so I decided it was definitely time to go again.

It was a Thursday evening so we guessed it would be busy (and obviously you can’t book!) but the good thing about the one in Soho is that it had a bar downstairs where you can grab some cocktails while you wait. I had the gin fizz which was so delicious, I would definitely recommend it! We got there at about 8.30 and the queue was about 45 minutes and when we were seated the queue had pretty much gone so if you don’t want to wait then I’d recommend arriving just after 9pm. Equally though if you do get there and have to wait then you get to try the cocktails, so technically winning either way!

The food is Venetian tapas. The menu is pretty extensive and there’s something for everyone. We ordered a few different things to share. We chose 6 things and there was probably a bit much food, so in future I’d probably suggest 5 dishes between two of you. We went for a variety of different things… Chilli and garlic prawns (actually not as messy as I’d feared!)

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Then one of the specials – anchovy, mozzarella and sundried tomato pizzette. It was cheesy goodness on a thin flatbread. They have lots of other pizzettes on the menu too, the prosciutto, smoked mozzarella and rocket one sounds particularly great so will give that a whirl next time.

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Then the grilled lamb, caponata and basil. Succulent meat in a tomato, pepper and celery ragu.

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The best thing on the menu is definitely the Piadina Meatball Smash. We went for the beef and pork meatballs which are cooked in a tomatoey sauce, covered in cheese and then put in a flatbread. Almost like a meatball calzone, so so tasty!!

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I don’t think the pictures really show how amazing it is but hopefully you get the idea.

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We thought we should also get some vegetables so went for the Zucchini, parmesan and basil which was crispy and fresh and definitely helped us feel a little bit healthier after demolishing the meatball smash!

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We also went for the Roast potatoes with rosemary and garlic which I forgot to take a photo of. They were also tasty, crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle, but I think we’d definitely had enough food by that point so unfortunately didn’t manage to get through them.

The food was great and I don’t think you can really go wrong with any thing on the menu, but if you go and don’t get the meatball smash then you are absolutely crazy, it is one of the best things EVER!! The dishes range from about £4-9 so you can kind of spend as much or as little as you want. We were too full for pudding but they do chocolate salami which I definitely want to try next time! They have a few different locations – Soho, Covent Garden, Notting Hill and Smithfield, so you can easily find one near you. If you go then let me know what you order as I’ll definitely be going back and am always keen to hear recommendations of what people like.

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