Address: 6 Maiden Ln, WC2E 7NA (MAP)
Transport: Tube: Leicester Square (Picadilly and Northern Line). Buses.
Website: www.polpo.co.uk. Follow them on Twitter.
The food. As you can imagine, I know Mediterranean food very well, and I like the philosophy of small, simple and tasty dishes that this Venetian bàcaro in Covent Garden offers. Everything looks fantastic: the place, the menu, the atmosphere… but although everything was good, I have to be honest, it didn’t blow me away. And it’s not just that I was expecting something more, it’s that I found some of the food a bit irregular. We ordered several small dishes to share, as they suggested. Just to name a few, the pesto and goat cheese bread and the salami calzone were excellent, as well as the light and tender gnocchis, but the croquettes, mini pizzas and salads were not so interesting. Nothing was bad, but I think some of the dishes needed a different touch to make them more exciting. The menu includes lots of vegetarian options, nice desserts and special dishes every day.
The place. It’s fantastic, I really loved the relaxed atmosphere. The decoration is very smart, with a traditional italian touch but still very modern, and there’s a bar in the middle of the restaurant that makes it look more casual. We went on Sunday lunch time and it wasn’t very busy, but as I heard, it’s quite popular, so must be more complicated to find a table at night.
The service. It was definitely nice and very polite, but I have to admit that, at times, I saw myself waiting more than five minutes just to order some drinks, or ask for the bill. And the restaurants was not even busy! Anyway, the service might not be perfect but the thing that I really appreciated was that they gave us enough time to finish our lunch without interruptions. We didn’t feel rushed like it happens in a lot of restaurants in that area.
The value. Maybe that was not my favourite part, and I’ll give you just an example so you can understand why. If they are charging £7.5 for a tiny pizza, there must be something special (ingredients, originality, presentation…) that justifies that price, because there are lots of places in London where you can find better and cheaper options. Not everything was overpriced, of course, but still, with some dishes I couldn’t stop thinking I was paying more money just because I was at a very popular restaurant. Would I come back? I’ll probably do, cause I really enjoyed the place, but it’s not a priority.