Monday, 25 January 2010

Beak Street Bacaro

A "bacaro" is a Venetian tapas style place. A place to enjoy a drink and some small plates of various bits and bobs. The sort of bar come restaurant that I wish I lived round the corner from. It just so happens one has opened on Soho's Beak Street. So being in the smoke for a few days I had to see what it was like.

Polpo operate a no booking system for dinner and being impatient in a queue we decided to book for lunch. A long L-shaped bar strewn with people merrily eating and drinking, greets you as you enter. We were led to our table, at the impossibly small rear of the restaurant, with elbows firmly tucked in to avoid knocking a glass of prosecco out of someones hand. After a short browse of the menu we ordered an array of dishes to get a real feel for the food. Prices range from just over a quid to around seven pounds for the bigger main course style dishes. We started with a few "Cicheti"to go with our glasses of Bellini.  Anchovy and chickpea crostini, salt cod on grilled polenta, two crunchy arancini (deep fried risotto balls filled with melting mozzarella) and a Tapenade and Tomato mini pizza. All the dishes were good but the mini pizza was excellent. 

We were advised by the friendly waiter to stop ordering any more mains after our fifth. These included pork belly with hazelnuts and radicchio, split pea and prosciutto risotto, cotechino with cabbage and mustard, slow cooked duck with tomato and olives, fritto misto of sea food and a side of spinach with garlic and chilli. It really wasn't as ridiculous amount of food as it sounds. All the dishes are served on side plates and we shared everything, although I "shared" a little bit more than my girlfriend. My favourite dish was the fritto misto, a mound of squid, anchovies and prawns deep fried in a thin batter. No two words excite me more on a menu than "fritto misto" and this example didn't disappoint. 

I finished my meal with a wedge of orange and almond cake and a double espresso. The coffee being one of the few down sides to a very good lazy lunch.

Memorable: The relaxed sharing plates concept and reasonable prices ( all that food and drink for £65!)

Forgettable: Coffee and the irritating me, me, me woman who was sat too close to ignore.

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