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Bocca Di Lupo – How to abort a Soho Gastro Tour
My foodie friend decided I needed some education into the ‘new’ Soho and we planned a happy afternoon tour of some of the more fashionable places that had popped up since I last worked in central London and ate out regularly. The idea was to eat a few ‘small plates’ in 2 or 3 of the restaurants and bars and to finish up with a dessert somewhere else.
It all started to fall apart when I turned up at our starting point to a text message telling me he was running late. So I wandered into a VERY busy Princi on Wardour Street with the intention of ordering a coffee and waiting. Now, I am small and I couldn’t work out where to order. The bar was lined with people being served food. The second bar at the back was also busy. I tried to get someone to serve me at one of them. Then tried the other. I felt invisible and ignored. And then I got just a bit grumpy. It didn’t help that I was hungry and the food looked good. So, I went and loitered outside.
When my friend arrived he dragged me off to Bocca di Lupo I think in an attempt to restore my faith in food. Or perhaps it was just because he loves the place. Now, the idea was that we ordered a couple of small dishes at Bocca di Lupo before moving on. But the kitchen was about to close (3pm) and we ordered rather quickly. So, what was meant to be 2 portions of fritti romani, (one portion of artichoke a la guidia and one of the olive pork dish) turned into 2 portions of each of the fritti romani (there are five on the menu). And our ‘mains’ – a plate of fried squid, aubergine, red prawn and lemon, and a dish of seabream carpaccio with rosemary oil dressing.
And you know what, it was one of those mistakes that turn out pretty well. The carpaccio was delicate and fragrant with rosemary oil. The various fritti romani gave us a real mixture of tastes and flavours.
I ate both the olive stuffed with minced veal and pork fritti romani (my friend doesn’t eat meat), light mouthfuls of herby minced meat in a crisp breadcrumb shell. I loved the artichoke a la guidia and could have eaten a whole plate of the Pollack baccala
Given that this was a totally unplanned set of food it worked remarkably well. I suspect I would have asked for a side order of salad if we’d actually planned to eat a full meal there. The bill for all the above, olives, bread and two glasses of red wine each was around £70 including service. So, in my book very good value and rather better food than da Polpo. Now I just need to go back…with someone who eats meat…so I can feast on some of the game options;)
We’d agreed to go back to Princi for coffee and a cake. And, I have to admit, once I got over my grumpiness, the cakes were pretty good.
I had an apricot flan, while my friend chose one of the cream filled pancakes.
And, my expresso hit the spot! I have to say, while the food was good, I wouldn’t go there for a full meal because the service was just too chaotic and it was anything but relaxing. If I worked in the area, it would be the perfect place to pick up something quick for lunch or escape the office for half an hour.
Bocca di Lupo
12 Archer Street, London W1D 7BB
0207 734 2224
135 Wardour Street, London W1F 0UT