London - Eating & Drinking - Restaurants
Spuntino has a slightly sinister and forbidding exterior (and is so discreet one might have trouble finding it) - and is right in the middle of one of Soho's most seedy streets. One enters from the street straight into a tiny room - originally a Victorian fishmonger, with high, pressed ceilings and tiles wall to ceiling throughout. They have inserted a central polished steel bar and 25 diners sit on fixed stools around this. No reservations, and no telephone even! - one just turns up and queues (or is lucky like we were and gets seats straight away).
The decor leaves the rather damaged interior virtually intact as it was excavated from subsequent redecorations, but there are your typical American caged naked light bulbs and design touches. It all feels very East Village or SoHo NYC, with the food (and staff) to match. The actually very charming, friendly and efficient staff all had the most amazing tattoos on display. They do "tasting plates" - the idea to is order a few and share. They gave us chili popcorn when we sat down, and we ordered aubergine chips with a fennel yoghurt dressing as a starter. For our main sharing dishes we had macaroni cheese (a superb version, zinging with mozzarella, fontina and parmesan, mustard and leeks and a crispy breadcrumb topping), grilled chicory and speck and spicy Italian sausage and lentils. Stunning, and came to just over £10 per head (we had soft drinks; not alcohol).
There was a lovely chilled, dare I say romantic vibe in the restaurant for our late weekday lunch. However, I can imagine at peak times this place would be jumping. It’s definitely worth frequent visits.
Check out my review of Spuntino - I am hedgiecc - on Qype