Another offering from the team behind Polpo and Polpetto, Spuntino has become London's most talked about dining destination in recent weeks since it's March opening. The concept is simple, bar style seating, American comfort food, cool atmosphere. What's not to like? The no reservations policy and the queue perhaps? Not a problem for me when our party of 2 arrived at around 9pm on a Tuesday evening a couple of weeks ago. About a 15 minute wait and we were seated.
We started things off with a prosecco and some fried olives. These are stuffed with anchovies before being crumbed and fried, delicious and a definite way to make the queue more bearable to those adverse to a wait.
Lighting is dim - as are my snaps as a result! - provided by tea lights in tumblers. The vibe here of an evening is fresher and more upbeat than those at Norman's other restaurants, music is louder and the focus less on food, more on drinking and eating to soak up the booze. Having said that, this is a restaurant and the food is, in my view, incredible and my favourite kind of fare.
We ordered 5 dishes between 2 and for a total of less than £50 we were both stuffed and happy. My winning dish was the mac and cheese. I'm a sucker for this, though I usually find it not up to standard I make at home. Not true of Spuntino's version. It's exactly what I want it to be.
The mac and cheese is the far dish above. More visible are the shoestring fries and the legendary truffled egg toast. Aromatic and oozing this is a guilt inducing masterpiece, try to resist and fail.
Another favourite were the delicious aubergine chips, again deep fried (eep!) and served with a quite brilliant fennel seed yoghurt which I must attempt ro recreate as it was a revelation.
The sliders were something I was super keen to try, we had the beef and marrow and the salt beef ones. The latter was slightly on the dry side, I dunked it in some frenchies and all was well. The beef on the other hand was moist and clearly benefits from the inclusion of the marrow into the mix. I was wishing we'd ordered something green at this point, feeling this had become a bit of a carb fest but we were done.
I loved everything about the place with one exception, also mentioned in posts from Gourmet Chick and Greedy Diva. They would benefit from installing some coat hooks, my bag and coat were sprawled over the floor at one point whilst I was queuing and it's very tight back there, not much room for the waiters to serve out the food. I did however, have a hook where I was seated at the bar and they really are a must for such a teeny space. For security, convenience and in the interests of keeping the place tidy.
I really liked the service, friendly and fun and the free spiced popcorn is a very nice touch whilst you wait for the food to arrive. I can't wait to come back and sample the rest, especially the boiled egg and soldiers. I might bring the girls along for brunch some time.
61 Rupert Street