Spuntino, Soho

I rarely write about restaurants these days. Eating out is still something I do several times a week but a restaurant rarely inspires me enough to want to sit down and tell you lot about it. Nopi is a perfect example. I mean yeah, it was okay but something about it feels a little uptight and damn, it’s expensive. Ottolenghi’s books, I find inspiring. His restaurants, not so much.

Anyway I am breaking my fast with Spuntino because it’s simply bloody brilliant. Nestled amongst the neon strip-lit sex shops of Soho sits Russell Norman’s latest project. It’s a small yet beautiful space, which Russell designed himself; on the first day of ownership he beat a pickaxe through the soulless MDF crust of an Indian restaurant to reveal glorious white glazed tiles and mosaics, slightly faded. Most of the seating is at the bar, the stools made in one of the UK’s oldest forgeries in Elephant, the very same which forged the lions in Trafalgar Square. Caged bulbs hang low above our heads; it’s all very basement chic.

We start ordering. It’s small plates, just like Polpo and Polpetto, all more than reasonably priced (Ottolenghi could learn a trick or two from Norman). We start with crunchy fingers of smoky aubergine plunged into fennel yoghurt. Brilliant. Then there’s just no stopping us. The modestly named ‘egg and soldiers’ is just that, but the egg is encased in a crunchy crust, golden oozy yolk ripe for the dunking. House pickles were perfect, not to sweet nor sour, the fennel the best of the bunch and something  I’ll definitely be trying at home. Lardo on toast was brilliant because it was lardo on toast (properly charred), caperberries the perfect astringent foil. A ground beef slider was seriously beefy, with that richness and depth that comes only from bone marrow. Melted cheese can never hurt, and it didn’t.

And then it came: truffled egg toast. Inspired by a dish in a New York caff with limited cooking facilities, the egg is cooked in the centre of fluffy white bread, a layer of melting Fontina in place of the ‘white’. The whole thing is infused with truffle oil. We descend on it like starving gannets, the yolk oozing from the bread with every cut. This is the food of dreams. There’s also a duck ham, pecorino and mint salad, sausage, lentils and radicchio heady with fennel and mustard and my first taste of grits: cheesy and spiked generously with paprika. Really though, it’s all about that truffled egg toast.

We still find room for dessert. Liquorice ice cream with carpaccio-ed pineapple arrives first. “It’s like eating a Black Jack!” I say to the barman who trumps me by saying it’s like eating a Black Jack and a Fruit Salad sweet at the same time, which it is. Brilliant fun. The ‘peanut butter and jam sandwich’ however is even better: the ‘bread’ is made from peanut butter ice cream, thick raspberry jam in the middle, crunchy bits and pieces sprinkled all over. Our spoons clash over the final mouthfuls.

The bar is great too. The staff are knowledgeable about both drinks and food and manage to be super trendy yet not annoying. The atmosphere is buzzing and I say more than several times that I could stay all night. In fact the only problem I can see with Spuntino is the urge to eat absolutely everything on the menu, and drink the bar dry. We spent £120 between two but we ate and drank like Kings and Queens. ‘Spuntini’ are priced at £3-£4.50; the average price of other dishes £5-£6. You can buy a shot of Dewar’s Scotch Whisky for £2 due to the ‘wafer thin margin’. Oh just go. Go, go and go again.

Spuntino
61 Rupert Street
Soho
W1D 7PW

Spuntino operates a no booking policy like Polpo and Polpetto.

Spuntino on Urbanspoon

 

Category: Restaurant Reviews | Tags: , , , , , 23 comments »

23 Responses to “Spuntino, Soho”

  1. Rob

    after that review, i think i will show a face on the way home from work

  2. catty

    I WANT THAT PB&J SANDWICH SO BAD IT HURTS!!!!!!!!! This place has been opened, what, a day? And seems to be a hit already. I need to get back to London and straight into Spuntino.

  3. aforkfulofspaghetti

    I am beside myself at the truffled egg toast. Coooooooorrrrrrr. WANTYWANTWANT.

    Why did Spuntino have to open after I’d left Landan tahn, dang it? Will have to arrange a visit asap.

    Great review :)

  4. Emma

    I wanted to go anyway but after that review I want to go now! Mmmmm. Especially that Truffled Egg Toast.

  5. Paul

    It was bound to be a hit wasn’t it! It looks fantastic, I cannot wait to get paid and try this place out.

  6. rachel

    huge review! i’m salivaing – cannie wait to go!

  7. KSalty

    Can’t wait to try Sputino, esp after reading this. Oh, and where can I get me some stools made from the same forge as the Trafalgar Square lions? Fantastic fact x

  8. Naomi

    The egg and soldiers and the truffled egg toast both look so good I can hardly believe my eyes.

    I’m really looking forward to trying this place out!

  9. Tori (@eat-tori)

    Fennel yogurt? I’m sold. Oh, and the PB&J. Looks like a winner. Great write up….

  10. The Grubworm

    I can’t speak because of the drool leaking from my lips at the sight of that truffled egg on toast. Everything I love about cheese and gooey egg on a plate. Heaven. Sigh. Definitely one to hunt down after pay day methinks.

    On another note, I am so with you on the restaurant thing. I’ve got a case of restaurant fatigue and have decided to cut down on blogging about them so I can focus more on enjoying the food.

  11. An American in London

    Def agree with you and other commenters on how delicious that truffled egg toast looks. Is Spuntino distinguishing its cuisine from that of Polpo or Polpetto in some way, out of curiosity?

    Also, not sure I can cope with more queuing but I’ll keep this place in mind in case I pass by and the queues don’t look too bad.

    Totally with you on how few meals seem worth writing up. It’s why I post once a week these days. Probably I should branch out from just restaurant reviews . . . .

  12. Jing

    Lovely post! That truffled egg toast dish…oh my…! Very glad they do cocktails. I heard the “mac and cheese” is the one to go for too.

    Am visiting tomorrow night so be sure to check my blog! =)

  13. Gin and Crumpets

    That truffled egg on toast looks all kinds of awesome. I have a serious case of The Wants.

  14. Jonathan

    Do you think the truffly, eggy, toasty thing could count as a sandwich?

  15. Helen

    Jonathan – Well, that egg is technically inside that bread. I think we can get away with it.

  16. The London Foodie

    So good to read this by you! Gives me more confiendence to go and visit it now. Met Chris last week and he said it was indeed quite good. Thanks.

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  17. Catherine

    Went today and loved it. The mac and cheese – oh my……….also tried a salt beef slider and the aubergine chips – beautiful.

  18. pilsbury

    tried to get in there last night about 6.15pm – already a 45 min wait for a spot :( any tips on when to go to get a place without queuing?

  19. Helen

    Pilsbury – Oh no! Well i went on the first night so it was pretty easy to get a seat. Anyone else?

  20. Mrs Lister

    oh my god

    the eggy bread

    *dies*

  21. Semhar

    Helen. Thank you!!! Via this article, you have made an Inoteca pilgrim a very very happy woman.
    Yum yum yum. I was about to make one ( or a lot) of these yummy drooly toasts for friends…. Now, We are coming.

    For those of you who have left London, in lower east side, NYC is the caff called Inoteca with these magic truffle toasts… Best for brunch with mimosas!

    Bon apetit!

  22. Kismet Hardy

    I’m going there tonight. If I arrive early and get a seat, will my friend (who will arrive later) have to queue and if so, how do I ensure she gets a seat next to me? Much confused

  23. Helen

    Hi kismet – My suggestion is to ask a member of staff when you arrive. I’m sure they will be able to help you much better than I can.

    Hope you have a lovely meal

    Helen.


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