Thursday, 18 February 2010

Polpo! Polpo! Polpo!

Guys! You probably already know, but if you don't POLPO is the cat's pyjamas! Apologies for all of the excitable exclamation marks, I'm probably still high on food.

My friend Wah booked the private dining room downstairs to celebrate her birthday, so we didn't have to wait in the crush at the bar for 'up to an hour' (an hour! for food!) for a table. We swanned rather self-importantly down stairs muttering 'private dining sweeties, yah yah, we're not waiting up here with the plebs' where we were introduced to our waitress for the night who was just lovely and looked after us very well indeed. The room is jolly enough, bare bricks blah blah blah, but frankly you're so busy congratulating yourself for being in a private dining room that it barely matters.

We had a little cup of prosecco, (on a Wednesday, how louche!) then got stuck into the plate of fried but not greasy goodies in front of us; potato and parmesan croquettes and crunchy lovely arancini which according to Kate tasted 'just like really posh chicken kiev - it's the garlic' (!) They did in fact taste very garlicky, but not much like a kiev at all, owing perhaps, to the absence of chicken... Parma ham and mozzarella crostini completed the pile of startery things to nibble whilst drinking perpetually full carafes of wine.

Then we had pizzetta bianca, crispy shards of baked dough covered in lots of melty cheese and caramelised onions - tres bon. After this the food arrived in insane flurries, plates followed plates followed heaving plates of so much food I could barely move by the time the chocolate pot arrived. It was a tumbler of warm runny chocolate and tasted not dissimilar to chocolate custard in school dinners, which is a compliment believe me.

We gorged on fist-sized polpette in tomato sauce, flank steak with wild mushrooms, frito misto, roast potatoes, spinach with garlic and chilli, bigoli with anchovies and pumpkin risotto for the vegetarian. Since it was a meat and fish heavy feast, our waitress sweetly brought out some roasted vegetables with spelt, not on our set menu, so that the veggies didn't feel hard done by. How kind! Everybody was raving about each plate that appeared in a near constant stream from the kitchen, trying hard to ram more food into themselves than they were truly comfortable with, simply because it was so yum.

When we finally rolled out I was firmly of the opinion that I will return to Polpo, even without the convenience of the private dining room. I'll take my chances with the hoi-polloi at the bar in order to secure a table which I can overfill with tasty tiny dishes of deliciousness.

41 Beak Street
London W1F 9SB.
020 7734 4479.

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