The wonder of walking out of my office any day onto Frith Street…it’s a problem…where to eat today…the choice!
Today its lunch at Bocca di Lupo on Archer Street...one of the best restaurants in Soho, but then there are so many places to describe with the same words. I’m eating with my old and gracious friend Nigel. He is late and can’t let me know despite best efforts because my Blackberry is in changeover mode. This gives me time to consider the changed wine list and admire the menu.
This place is a piece of Italy transplanted into London. An Italian restaurant without local compromise, pure Italian food as served in Italy. The menu even advises of the locality of each regional dish. For first course we have a selection of tapas style small dishes and chose to share Crudita di Mare (raw sea bream, prawn and scallop with rosemary oil); veal sweetbreads, (which part of the animal does these come from); grilled luganega; and exquisite tortiglioni with burnt walnut pesto. Not a mouthful disappoints; flavours explode on the tongue.
We tried to order some champagne to celebrate Nigel’s recent birthday but they don’t sell it and don’t just offer the now (sadly) ubiquitous Prosecco. Instead, we have on recommendation a crisp and sparkling Lombardi methode champenoise…a treat, and worth crossing London for.
Just when we thought we could eat no more our secondi arrived: grilled squid with gremolata. We compared it to eating at Add’o Riccio on Capri, where food and venue compete for greater love. It’s close. On Archer Street, the service is smart, knowledgeable and mainly Italian. We will take a trip to their gelateria, Gelupo, across the road, another day.
Before finishing our Falanghina we were joined by the very lovely Tracey, in especially good form, in all ways. She was the only pudding eater and we shared the “amazing milk-free espresso gelato”, which she has, apparently, had before. An incomparable punch of caffeine and sugar with the texture of silk on the tongue. What a finish to a perfect workday lunch. Do I recommend this place? Work it out.