Nestled in the heart of London’s lively Soho district, Polpo stands as a testament to the rich tapestry of culinary experiences that the city has to offer. Drawing inspiration from the traditional Venetian bacaro, this establishment seamlessly blends the charm of Italy with the cosmopolitan energy of London. In this gastronomic journey, we delve into the enticing world of Polpo Soho, exploring its origins, the culinary philosophy that underpins its menu, and the unique dining experience it provides.
The Venetian Bacaro Concept
To understand Polpo, one must first grasp the concept of the Venetian bacaro. Originating in Venice, bacaros are small, informal bars that offer an array of cicchetti – small, delectable plates meant for sharing. This concept embraces the conviviality of shared meals, encouraging patrons to try a variety of dishes in a relaxed setting. Polpo, founded by Russell Norman and Richard Beatty, successfully transplants this concept to the heart of London, bringing the authenticity of Venetian dining to the vibrant streets of Soho.
The Atmosphere: A Blend of Tradition and Trend
Upon stepping into Polpo Soho, patrons are greeted by an atmosphere that seamlessly marries tradition with modernity. The décor, reminiscent of a Venetian bacaro, features exposed bricks, wooden furnishings, and an intimate setting that exudes warmth. The dim lighting casts a soft glow, creating an inviting ambience perfect for both casual lunches and intimate dinners. The buzzing energy of Soho permeates the air, adding a contemporary twist to the Venetian experience.
The Culinary Delights
Now, let’s embark on a journey through Polpo’s menu, a symphony of flavours that celebrates the diverse culinary landscape of Venice. Begin your culinary adventure with cicchetti – small plates designed for sharing. The Arancini, golden orbs of saffron-infused risotto filled with melting mozzarella, exemplify the perfection of simplicity. Accompany these with the classic Venetian delicacy, Bacaro Bellini – a refreshing concoction of white peach puree and Prosecco, setting the tone for the gastronomic delights to follow.
You can check out their menu [here].
Moving on to the Antipasti, the Marinated Octopus with Borlotti Beans offers a taste of the sea, perfectly balanced with the earthiness of the beans and a zesty lemon dressing. The Salami and Pickle Platter showcases the quality of cured meats, sourced meticulously to deliver an authentic taste of Italy.
As you progress to the Primi and Secondi courses, the Pizzetta Bianca with Taleggio, Radicchio, and Walnut is a testament to Polpo’s commitment to quality ingredients. The Venetian-style Liver and Onions, a robust secondo, pays homage to the traditional Venetian liver dish – simple, hearty, and full of flavour.
However, the true star of the show is Polpo’s signature dish – the Venetian-style Calf’s Liver and Onions. Slow-cooked to perfection, the tenderness of the liver is complemented by the sweet caramelised onions, creating a dish that is both comforting and sophisticated.
Vegetarian options at Polpo are equally enticing, with dishes like the Courgette, Parmesan, and Basil Pizzetta showcasing the kitchen’s ability to elevate simple ingredients into a culinary masterpiece.
The Dolci offerings at Polpo are a sweet finale to your Venetian-inspired feast. Indulge in the Flourless Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake, a rich and decadent creation that captures the essence of Italian desserts.
Pairing these delectable dishes with wines from Polpo’s curated selection enhances the overall dining experience, providing a perfect balance to the robust flavours presented in each course.
The Service: A Symphony of Hospitality
Polpo’s commitment to excellence extends beyond the kitchen to its service. The staff, well-versed in the intricacies of Venetian dining, provide a seamless experience, guiding patrons through the menu with expertise and warmth. The attentive yet unintrusive service enhances the overall dining experience, allowing guests to fully immerse themselves in the culinary journey.
In the heart of Soho, Polpo stands as a gastronomic haven, where the spirit of the Venetian bacaro meets the energetic pulse of London. From cicchetti to dolci, each dish on the menu is a celebration of tradition, innovation, and quality. Polpo’s ability to transport diners to the lively streets of Venice while firmly rooted in the eclectic energy of Soho makes it a must-visit for those seeking an authentic and unforgettable dining experience. So, step into Polpo Soho and let the flavours of Venetian cuisine dance on your palate in this captivating culinary adventure.