London Larder was devised in 2012 to bring you the ultimate eating and drinking guide to London. It was borne out of a need for up-to-date, quantitative and whole-heartedly recommended places to eat and drink.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012



So there we were on a Friday night in Soho, impossible to get a table without a reservation. It seemed like the perfect time to sample Polpo with its no reservations policy.

We hot-footed it over to Beak St and walked through the welcoming doors. The wait, we were told, could be up to 40mins, but since we were in no rush and needed an excuse to prolong our catch up we were more than happy to wait at the (albeit crowded) bar. The bar space is small and busy but if you arrive expecting this then you won’t mind the odd treading of toes. Literally.

Prosecco (on tap) is served in small tumblers which, we're told, is authentic but don’t expect to feel chic drinking out of one.

Immediately you feel a sense of friendliness with fellow diners. We shared pre-dining banter (which resulted in pre-dining drinks and nibbles) with three friendly city types. Had it have not been more difficult to get a table for our now group of seven, we would have joined each other for dinner, but tables are small at Polpo and it was much easier to seat in our original smaller groups.

Dishes are designed small (cicchetti) for the table to order many and share. We were so excited by the variety on offer that we over ordered, in the end having to balance water bottles, wine, cutlery and plates of small Venetian delights on the small table. It would have been nice for the waitress to inform us that dishes would be brought out when ready so that we could have staggered our ordering but we were having fun despite this.

From our choices, dishes which stood out were the white anchovy tapenade and egg cicchetti, the broad bean, ricotta and mint bruschetta and the calfs liver, onions and sage (delicious!) but all were scrummy. Just beware of ordering too many dishes, which is easily done.

Overall, Polpo is a good choice for a buzzy casual meal with friends. Not one for overly romantic first dates as it’s noisy and your date might not appreciate waiting at the bar for a seat. If you do appreciate good food though, then we recommend Polpo and so what if you over order, you can always find a bit more room to try another dish....

41 Beak Street, W1F 9SB
Average price for a small plate (based on tapas style dishes): £6
Average price for a glass of wine: £7
Food/Drink: 5/5
Service: 3/5
Value: 5/5

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