Sunday, 27 March 2011


spuntino is a cosmopolitan sophisticated diner. it is also the intersection at which new york meets london. it’s façade is almost industrial and is somewhat incongruous in the middle of the gritty sexiness of soho. that industrial theme is felt inside as well with high ceilings and earthy tones giving this otherwise small space a feel of openness. credit definitely goes to nifty utilisation of space! there is a rectangular u-shaped bar seating that seats around twenty people and a small table in one corner. we were lucky to beat the queue by about fifteen minutes as the pace started to pick up around half six.

the eating area
 spunito ticks all the boxes of being very very good for service, food and drinks. our well-tattooed server-cum-bartender was not only friendly but really good at walking us through cocktails based on our preferences. o and i started on clover clubs. this raspberry coloured cocktail has a dull sweetness where the raspberry has been muted by savoury elements. we both loved the attention to detail in the mixology and also the cocktail glasses frosted over with cold. my next cocktail is best described as spring in a glass. well shaken orange juice, gin and sugar finished with a large segment of orange peel. the sugar really tempers the tart acidity of orange. o had the negroni which i didn’t take well too as it had a very raw alcohol edge. it was the same for me on the martini but he liked both.

 as for the food, we staggered our order. we had plenty of time to deliberate over what we wanted to eat as we were occupied not only by our cocktails but the rather addictive paprika popcorn that was served in a tin cup. the eggplant chips with fennel yoghurt was excellent, with a silken inside. it paired well with the fennel yoghurt which had a sharp flavour that worked brilliantly with the mildness of the eggplant. next came the ground beef and bone marrow slider. a mini burger with a thick patty held firmly with a skewer. cutting it to share was a rather messy affair as it left our plate littered with stray pickles and rings of shallots. spuntino managed perfection in size because the meat was slightly pink on the inside and was really juicy.

pop corn
we had a hard time choosing between the steak and eggs and the mac and cheese. eventually we decided that we could try them on our next trip as the truffle egg toast was a must and i figured that we would need a salad to undercut the richness of it. so we settled on the beet, salted ricotta, pistachio salad. the truffle egg toast isn’t for the faint hearted. it is a marriage of sharp buttery cheese, truffle oil, a soft set egg on a thick slice of toast. the truffle oil accentuates the maturity of the melting fontina. the salad also had sharp flavours with a marked saltiness. the sweet notes of the beet were nowhere to be found. instead there was the slight bitterness of rocket cut through with salty cheese and pistachio. i am glad we picked this contrast of flavours. there was no way i would have managed steak and eggs or mac and cheese with this. o somehow managed to work his way through a very buttery crouque monsieur after all this.

i was [attempting] to save some space for the peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dessert. this deceptively described dessert is nothing short of genius. it mimics the american classic only in concept. the ‘bread’ for the sandwich is actually semifreddo peanut-butter ice -ream. the jelly is actually not-so-sweet berry jam and the whole thing is topped with a caramel crunch and peanuts. this is a pb and jelly experience beyond the imagination. there was a couple seated next to us with whom o struck up a conversation. at some point he was asked by the male half whether there was anything he didn’t like. o unequivocally said ‘no’.

spuntino is one of those places that gives you everything, including a near american experience in london. thinking back of my time in the land of the big and the brave, the one thing that you could count on was being able to strike up a conversation with your fellow diners. there is something about spuntino that allows londoners to do that. i will be back for more jukebox type tunes, revamped american classics (especially the mac and cheese) and the smell of freshly popped corn. i overheard the server telling another diner that spuntino had been chalked outside at the top and that it was unlikely it will be rewritten once it is rubs out. just in case it is does spuntino is sixty-one, rupert street. i was almost minded to not tell you but i’m sure that for the love for food you’d fine it anyway. and just in case you decided to drop in at the worldwideweb spuntino be warned that it is so minimalist that it just has a picture, the address and a categoric statement 'no telephone, no reservations'. you will just have to go, and queue and try it out.

Spuntino on Urbanspoon

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