Bocca di Lupo
There are some restaurants you hear really good things about but just never find the time to visit for one reason or another. Bocca di Lupo is one such place for me. After trying their three fried balls (of olive stuffed with veal and pork, mozzarella and tomato risotto) at Taste of London last month, we decided it was high time we dropped by so K booked us in for lunch at the bar (no more tables available). When we turned up, we were told they’d just received a cancellation and could squeeze us into a table in the main dining area. Oh happy days – it looked pretty packed at the bar area, a bit more manoeuvre space wouldn’t go amiss.
Slightly different from the majority of Italian restaurants I’ve visited, there wasn’t a long list of different pasta dishes on the menu to choose from but there was certainly no lack of variety of food from stews to raw/cured starters for selection. Another plus was the two serving sizes (small/ large) of many of the dishes which gave us the option to order a few dishes to share. I’m normally guilty of food wastage when I visit an Italian restaurant and want to have pasta as a main – there’s always too much if I have a starter and dessert as well (can you tell I’m greedy?). So on this occasion, small plate was very welcomed AND (you can see I was impressed) small plate here is really… well, medium plate – bigger than tapas size and definitely more than 3 mouthfuls.
This is what we shared – courgette flowers with mozzarella and anchovy; linguine with spider crab, tomato and basil; pappardelle with gurnard, courgettes and their flowers; saltimbocca alla romana – veal escalope with Parma ham, sage and Marsala.
Both the pasta dishes were served up al dente, I didn’t expect anything less. I found K’s pappardelle dish a little on the salty side but I loved the flavours of my linguine dish. The baby tomatoes were sweet and gave an almost refreshing lift to the dish. My favourite dish though was the courgette flowers stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies as most places stuff them with goat’s cheese (I’m not a big fan of the stuff).
Service was efficient and friendly. We were offered the usual still or sparkling water but also tap water without us indicating. We asked for all our dishes to be served at the same time and impressively, this was done in under 10 minutes with everything still piping hot. You’d think some of these aspects of service are a given when dining out but the number of times I’ve been disappointed is countless so I really do think the front of house team at Bocca di Lupo deserves a proper mention – thank you!
An all round enjoyable meal and definitely somewhere I’d try to eat at the next time I’m in the area, even if it’s at the bar. Mind you, it’s not cheap but I thought it was very good value for good quality Italian fare outside of Italy. We skipped desserts and hopped over to Bocca di Lupo’s little sister Gelupo for some gelati and a browse round the delicatessen.
Price for plates as above with a large beer and glass of Rose wine with 12.5% service charge came to £60.92.
Bocca di Lupo is located at 12 Archer Street in London Soho W1D 7BB, which is about 5 minutes’ walk from Piccadilly station.