At the rate the team behind Polpo opens new restaurants in the West End, I would not have thought of going to their 4th restaurant da Polpo so soon after its official opening. I love Polpo: every time I take someone there, it never disappoints. I was slightly less impressed with Polpetto last time I went – it was not just me; my friend Axel who went to Polpo with me on a previous occasion agreed that Polpetto was good, but just not as good as Polpo.
I met up with Priya on this sunny Friday in the West End for lunch, and originally I was thinking of going to Polpo again; but then I thought – let’s risk da Polpo and see what it’s like in its first week.
The first thing that I liked about da Polpo was that it’s light and spacious – unlike the somewhat darker look of Polpo and the crammed dining area in Polpetto. The menu looked somewhat familiar, with some dishes at the other restaurants also. Service was attentive, and we got our drinks and the free focaccia (that’s fresh and delicious) promptly.
Choosing the dishes was not so easy – not because there’s not enough to choose from, but it’s more like how to be sensible and not over-order, with so many choices in front of us. I would have been quite happy to close my eyes and just point randomly!
The two potato and Parmesan crochettas came first to fill the two empty stomachs. They were crispy on the outside with a very smooth, slightly runny and piping hot mashed potatoes inside. Probably amongst some of the best croquettes that I have ever had.
The next two dishes arrived simultaneously – the fragrance was already showing promising signs even before tasting. The tasty lamb and mint meatballs, with a tomato-based sauce, were of a generous portion, and I could have eaten anoter place of this without any hesitation. The chilli and garlic prawns were good too, though I would have prefer the prawns a bit larger.
As it’s still the asparagus season, we thought it would be a good idea to order the grilled asparagus, buttered eggs and Parmesan. Again it’s a generous portion and the combination was simple but effective.
To finish off the meal, we had the affogato al caffe – again just something simple but satisfying.
It was a very nice lunch, and considering that the restaurant was new, it had certainly made an excellent start. The only downside I can see with this place is that, because of its high quality of cooking, popular location of Covent Garden and good value for money, da Polpo would be as successful as its siblings, if not more, in the future, and this means that it would be difficult to get in at mealtimes!
Address: 6 Maiden Lane, London, WC2E 7NA , United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7836 8448
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday: 12.00pm to 11.30pm
Total: 16/20 [Based on visit in June 2011]