Vico – Italian Food from the founders of Bocca di Lupo and Gelupo:
In 2008 chef Jacob Kenedy and general manager Victor Hugo opened Bocca di Lupo, one of my favourite restaurants and the place that in many ways kick-started the great Soho food renaissance. Both owners were veterans of London’s iconic Spanish/Moorish restaurant Moro but Bocca di Lupo offered Kenedy’s selection of seasonal regional Italian dishes to be finished off with delicious home-made gelati, something that was also featured in their shop Gelupo immediately opposite the restaurant’s Archer Street location.
They have recently opened their second restaurant, Vico – London’s first ‘piazza-eria’. It’s an informal 11a.m. to midnight, 7 days week kind of place serving Italian street food by the kilo and fizz on tap.
It’s really an upmarket fast food outlet but with nosh you want to eat. And, the location on Cambridge Circus is handy for Soho, the Theatre or Covent Garden. Vico’s menu features pizza al taglio (slices of rectangular pizza by the weight), fritti such as arancini, polpette and calamari, a mix of salads and antipasti. The food costs £3 for 100g and glasses of prosecco, wine, spritz or beer are £3.50 a glass.
Armed with a carafe of fizz that slips down very easily I try two varieties of arancini. The first is an astonishingly good lasagna version, the second an unctuous and more traditional Taleggio cheese and mushroom risotto based take on the deep-fried balls of joy.
I have a mix of salads – the by the weight pricing makes this a really easy option- two types of pumpkin, tuna and potato, roast pepper, grilled courgette which are all delicious.
The fritto misto comes with squid, prawn, courgette, soft shell crab and sardines and is as good as the Bocca di Lupo version – for my money London’s finest. It is crisp and hot with a well seasoned batter and not a drop of grease.
Pizza comes with a focaccia base; I try the mushroom, pumpkin, and bocconcini and tomato – they had been sitting a bit too long on the hot plate for perfection – so try to catch them fresh out of the oven for a better experience.
Because I don’t believe in overdoing it I only try four types of gelato; my all time favourite chestnut, hazelnut, pistachio, and a subtle and fragrant fig leaf.
Gelupo makes the best gelato in London-that’s it-and now I have a second place in town to indulge my habit.
I’m having Vico as my go-to place for a quick delicious bite in the West End. It’s set up to ensure a fast turnaround and you won’t break the bank going there.
Try it before your friends do!
1 Cambridge Circus,
London, WC2H 8PA