Sunday, 22 August 2010


Polpetto is described as a "tiny jewel box of a restaurant" on their website and it certainly is tiny, only 28 seats, which are probably going to be some of the most sought after in London on the evidence of this soft opening. They've gone to a lot of trouble to source their fixtures and fittings to reflect an authentic Venetian bacaro and the ceiling is especially beautiful.

As most of you will know Polpetto is the sister restaurant to Polpo in Beak Street and the menu follows a similar format starting with cicheti(small eats) and moving onto sharing plates, think Italian tapas.

We ordered up a storm off the menu and there almost wasn't a duff dish apart from the pea, mint fennel and ricotta salad which didn't have much fennel flavour and was a bit bland. But barring that everything was delicious and I have every intention of coming back and working my way through the rest of the menu. Stand outs for me include the zucchini fries(£4.50), thin, crispy and delicious (so much better than the wodgy, greasy things at Byron),

chili and garlic prawns(£7) with a proper kick to them,
and the perfectly medium rare flank steak (£7) with white trufle cream. I do think that they need more light, fresh vegetable dishes to provide balance though, most of the dishes under the vegetable section were carb based (panzanella, polenta, potatoes) which is why we ended up ordering that salad. Desserts and I got the tiramisu, which came in a cute little shot glass and was very good. I have to say that I felt a bit short changed when I saw J's massive slice of flourless chocolate and hazenut cake, I think they may need to even out the portion sizes to stop dessert envy! Next time I'm getting two of the tiramisu. And there will definately be a next time (if I can get a table! They take bookings for lunch but not dinner.) Tel: 020 7734 1969 49 Dean Street Soho London W1D 5BG Estimated cost per person excluding drinks: £30

Saturday, 14 August 2010

bob bob ricard- push the button

I came here for a bloggers meet up so it was a special set menu with paired vodkas. Frankly I was bit nervous about this, I haven't really touched vodka since university where double vodkas and coke were the fastest and cheapest route to oblivion. I was hoping this would act as vodka rehabilitation for me!
We kicked off with rhubarb flavoured G&T's which were the prettiest shade of light pink and a lovely refreshing way to start on a very hot evening.
I was also worried about the amuse bouche which was listed as tongue in aspic. For those of you who don't know what aspic is, this translates as Tongue.In.Cold.Jelly. Yeah I know slithery isn't normally a quality I look for in my food either but this was actually suprisingly nice, meaty and savoury like the jelly in pork pies. It was paired with Vodka Imperia sreved at -18 degrees. Vodka is actually meant to be downed neat as an internal heat delivery system for those cold russian winters, so I held my nose and did it. The vodka was smooth and cold with a pleasant afterburn.

Starters was a Russian salad topped with a quails egg and shaved truffle and paired with Vodka Kauffman Special Selected Vintage. This is supposed to be the most delicate vodka in the world made from the wheat of the finest harvests with a soft aniseed and liquorice finish.It also really intensified the flavours of the salad.
Properly fortified we moved onto mains which in this case was Veal Holstein, deep fried breaded veal on a mound of truffled mash topped with anchovies and a fried quails egg. As a little surprise a lake of special sauce had been hidden under the veal inside the mash. This dish was delicious but just a bit too rich and heavy for such a hot night.
Puds and I opted for the chocolate glory, described as chocolate jivara mousse and chocolate brownie with passionfruit organge jelly and meringue (which really I shouldn't have, given that only a moment before I'd been complaining it was too rich but I couldn't resist!). This came as a golden sphere and just as I was thinking what the hell, how am I supposed to eat this, hot chocolate sauce was poured over it causing the outer shell to dissolve, to much oohs and aahs around the table. I think it's worth getting this for the sheer theatricality of this dessert alone but it also tasted pretty dammn good.
I love Bob Bob Ricard for many reasons. The fabulously OTT decor, the fact that they have buttons that say "push for champagne", the pink jacketed waiters. Vodka has been successfully rehabilitated for me. I will be back especially as in August they have a caviar lunch for only £20!
Bob Bob Ricard
1 Upper James Street, London, W1F 9DF
Estimated cost per person:£40

Goodman, city branch

So a top notch steak house in the city, hmm I can't believe it hasn't happened before now. Goodman is fitting in like a hand into a glove. We went on only the second day it was open and it was already full of guys in suits working their way through steaming hunks of cow and the extensive wine list. But don't let that put you off, Goodman actually has a really nice vibe, dark and sleek, not at all the all male clubby feel I was worried about. If you've been to the Maddox street branch you'll know the drill by now, fabulous aged prime cuts of beef seared to perfection on a Josper grill. We got to have a peek in the ageing room and it was like meat porn, the British beef (supplied by O'Shea's) is dry aged and the USDA is wet aged. Apparently the USDA beef has a slightly sweeter taste due to it being corn fed wheras the British beef has a deeper more intense flavour.

We plumped for the 600g bone in rib eye as anything on the bone has more flavour and rib eye is the signature cut of Goodmans with enough fatty marbling to add a real depth of flavour.

Be warned the portion sizes are absolutely massive, we ended up splitting it in the end with two sides, sugar snap peas and Lyonnaise potatoes. This was about the perfect amount of very rich food for two people, especially as everything seems to come sauteed in butter, I could practically feel my arteries hardening up as I ate. But hey what a way to go!

And as steak is never going to be a health food we got two sauces, bearnaise and stilton. The stilton wasn't at all what I expected being more like a red wine reduction than a creamy, cheesy sauce but it was still very good. And the best bit about splitting a main was that it meant I had room for dessert, which thankfully is in much smaller portions! Order the B52 parfait and put aside any preconceptions you might have about a dessert based on this most declasse of drinks. Head chef Olly has worked really hard on this dessert and it's the perfect balance of coffee and chocolate flavours. The only tiny criticism I might make is that the orange flavour doesn't really come through from the Grand Marnier so Olly if you're reading this and have another version that needs road testing I'd be more than happy to volunteer! But otherwise it was the perfect refreshing end to a delicious meal. Goodman- it's now my go-to place for steak and it should be yours too.
Goodman (City)
11 Old Jewry, London, EC2R
Estimated price per person (excluding drinks)£60