Polpetto (Berwick St): where simple does stunning

With a lot of new concept restaurants opening (and closing) every ten minutes it’s important to note that Russell Norman’s Polpo bacaros have been established players in the London dining scene. The case of Polpetto (formerly of Dean Street) re-opening in a much larger space (Berwick St) and having punters still queue for fare should be a testament to that.
So what’s the formula?

Honestly, I think it’s down to simplistic feeding. The menu at Polpetto changes through seasons but they keep it short and simple: no fancy shmancy names, just laying down the ingredients as they are.

The grilled focaccia (£3) is quite special. Drizzled in the most aromatic olive oil and infused with rosemary, I would happily eat a week’s worth of carb intake with this.

Beetroot purée (£7) combined with its classic partner of goats curd and a bit of wood sorrel served as a dipping sauce for our bread. The purée was ever so smooth and it was so fresh you can taste the beautiful flavours of the beets. The goats curd was punchy and added an extra layer of creaminess to the dish. YUM.

The crab linguini with sea purslane (£8) was just average. Pasta was cooked al dente and there was enough to keep you going. There was a decent amount of crab meat but the flavour profile lay heavily on the sauce and I couldn’t taste the shellfish at all.

The octopus (£9) was simply stunning not just visually, but also delectably. The lone tentacle was cooked so well; my knife sliced through it like butter as it was ever so soft, tender and flavourful. The coco beans were subtle enough but complemented the dish perfectly. If you have friends who are partial against octopus, you may as well convert them by offering this.

An interesting dish was the pork belly with apricot and pepperwort (£9). Served in a clear broth that had a slightly sweet-sour tang, it reminded me ever of a Filipino dish called sinigang, a stew usually made with a souring ingredient (most commonly tamarind but also miso or guava). Polpetto’s version was slightly sweeter due to the apricot but the pork was soft and the bonus of crackling was just ace.
Surprisingly, a big highlight for me was the lamb shoulder pappardelle (£11). The meat was tender and the ragu it made was seasoned perfectly. Al dente pasta always hits a good spot and this was no different. 
Overall, I think Polpetto is my favourite of the Polpo group of restaurants. The food truly is in the heart of the establishment and this is a food philosophy most nouvelle cuisine places tend to forget: don’t fix what ain’t broken and keep it simple. Food is stunning and service is straightforward. A true testament that there is beauty in simplicity.
11 Berwick St, London W1F 
Ave spend pp: £40
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10 Comments

    • 13th August 2015 / 1:10 pm

      You should really check them out! Start with Polpetto, it's definitely the best one! x

  1. 13th August 2015 / 6:21 am

    I'm a fan of Polpetto – haven't tried the pork belly with apricot and pepperwort, Mr Luxe would love that!

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

  2. 14th August 2015 / 9:12 am

    The colour of that beetroot puree is stunning! Big fan of the food at Polpetto, looks like you chose the best dishes! x

    http://www.ellebloggs.com

    • 14th August 2015 / 2:57 pm

      It's a really good dish! We just ordered the last five items on the menu, but man what a pleasant surprise it was! x

  3. 14th August 2015 / 3:46 pm

    I have yet to visit Polpetto but would really love to – the octopus, beetroot puree and lamb pappardelle all sound (and look) sensational! Lots of love, Andrea xxx

    Andrea's Passions

    • 21st August 2015 / 10:26 am

      Last time I went they had a different menu! But everything was still yum! x

  4. 20th August 2015 / 5:28 pm

    Polpetto is definitely up there with my favourite eats in London and I reckon it's the best tentacle on the Russell Norman octopus/empire! The atmosphere is always intimate and friendly and the plates delicious – and you've done such a good job of making them look delicious! The eponymous polpo and the lamb pappardelle look and sound especially incredible *drools* xx

    • 21st August 2015 / 10:25 am

      Cheers Tamsin! I do love Polpetto, especially by the bar counter where the lighting is best! Perfect for shooting, even when you only have your phone! And agree on their octopus… YUM! x

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