Pre-opera dining at Da Polpo
Where to take your 17 year old goddaughter for pre-opera food? Well, when she was a bit younger we used to stick to the Opera House restaurants, but I thought it was worth trying something different this time. What I was looking for was the sort of place where she might just want to go with her friends or on a date. Somewhere trendy, with a bit of atmosphere. Da Polpo isn’t somewhere I’ve tried before, but it’s been on my ‘must try’ list for a while because especially pre-theatre, I do like small plates of food. And, the interior design ticks all the hip trendy boxes, right down to bare light bulbs and lots of tea lights. The net result is cosy and comforting, even when it gets busy…
Catherine likes chicken, sausage, cheese and some vegetables. Oh, and chocolate! I suggested Da Polpo and she thought it was a great idea. And, I’m pleased to say it did work. You can book a table at Da Polpo up to 6pm – so you can JUST get in there and be sure of eating pre-theatre. When we arrived the place was almost desserted, but it wasn’t quite 6pm. By the time we left at 7.30pm, it was buzzing with a small queue and every table taken.
It’s the largest of the Polpo group of restaurants, but follows much the same formula, shabby chic interior, simple menu and shortish wine list. We ordered a couple of cincetti to start. The arancini was disappointingly dry and sticky, but the potato and parmesan croquette was mouthwatering.
Then 2 pizette, 2 plates and a salad to share. My wild mushroom pizzetta was great and the pizzetta bianca also got a thumbs up. The frito misto was fine, nothing exceptional, but well cooked and generously portioned for £8.50.
Catherine chose the Cotechino sausage, lentils and salsa verde, which she devoured happily. The salad of fennel and endive was fresh and nicely dressed. And, then, nutella pizzetta. Well, I did say she loved chocolate!
Our bill including 500ml of a very nice sangiovese, tea, coffee and mineral water was about £72. A good experience and one I’ll repeat. Not gastro, but a lovely ambience and a great place to grab a pre-theatre/post shopping bite to eat.
6 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden
London WC2£ 7NA
Tel 0207 836 8448