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Polpo Restaurant

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by Kat Parr Mackintosh (subscribe)
Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
Published December 20th 2010
Polpo does Italian food the way they do it in Venice, meaning well and in small portions, which means you can have lots of 'bits of what you fancy'. They call them cicheti and as well as being small mouthfuls they're also very reasonably priced: for a pound you can get anchovy & chick pea crostino or rocket & walnut pesto crostino - what can you buy for a single pound these days?

As the two examples testify there are quite a few little toasty numbers - and an excellent selection of pizzas and bruchettas - but it's not all bready. There are little bits of rabbit, slabs of pork belly, slivers of calf's liver, a scattering of braised scallop and Linguine vongole. There's also the ubiquitous selection of cold meats that all of Italy seems to do SO well, and unusual (and often surprisingly tasty) little veggie side sides.

It looks unassuming from the front, but inside, and beyond the frequently busy bar, are the tables - with more underground. Don't be put out if you're sat at the back - this is where a lot of the action takes place and it will give you a chance to browse some of the potential plates as they come out. The trick is to order a few and then order more.

Ask the staff id you need help choosing and getting the amount right. The atmosphere is friendly and a little rustic. Very home kitchen-y.

The wine list is like what you'd get in a traditional Venetian bacaro as well, most of it harking from small producers in Northern Italy.
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Why? It's a bacaro in Soho
When: Monday to Saturday, for lunch and dinner, noon to 3pm and 5.30 to 11pm. Sundays for lunch only.
Phone: 020 7734 4479
Where: 41 Beak Street London W1F 9SB, nearest tube, Oxford Circus
Cost: From about 15 a person
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