May 23 2013

Bocca di Lupo


Bocca di Lupo is one of my favourite Italian restaurants in London. I get asked quite frequently these days about my favourite restaurants in London, and I always mention Bocca di Lupo. I first went to Bocca di Lupo, located on a small side street in Soho, a few years ago and absolutely loved it, and have always wanted to go back but every time I try to book this place is always fully booked (apart from a 5.00 dinner reservation) even though I try to book many months in advance. I have recently found out that they do keep some seats by the bar open for walk ins, so you may be lucky if you just decided to go there without a reservation. Bocca di Lupo was opened in 2008 by Jacob Kenedy and Victor Hugo and ever since they opened they try to be a “small and humble trattoria at heart”. They make most of the things themselves (breads, sausages, salame, pickles, pasta), and the things they can’t make they source from Italy. They have also created an amazing Bocca cookbook which I have looked at so many times and it is on my “to buy” list.

A month ago my friend Paul suggested we go to Bocca di Lupo for dinner on a Thursday. I tried to book it and all the later tables (as I already anticipated) had been taken, but we did manage to get a table for 18.00, which suited us both. We were seated at the bar counter which overlooks the main kitchen, and which is where most of the people sit, as there are so many places by the bar, but there are also tables at the back of the room where you can sit down, and that is more boring as you can’t see the action in the kitchen, although means you are less hot (the kitchen omits a lot of heat) and maybe your clothes won’t pick up the food smell as well.

The menu at Bocca di Lupo is a delight and there are so many different things to choose from, from fried things to raw seafood to cooked seafood to stews to sausages, when you look at the menu you are spoilt for choice. Also next to each dish it lists which region it comes from (there is a dish from every of the 20 regions of Italy) and every dish you can have in small or large portions, which is a brilliant idea as it means I can have small portions of everything and then have more dishes to share and taste. I wish all restaurants would do this. Their menu also changes very frequently (they say sometimes twice a day), although Paul was telling me that their main signature dishes that he likes to eat are always there.

We decided to order a lot of small portions of dishes to share, so we ordered quite a few dishes and they came to us in two different batches as if to separate lighter dishes and then more heavy/ cooked/ main course type of dishes. First came “Radish, celeriac, pomegranate & pecorino salad with truffle oil”, “Sicilian red prawn with rosemary oil & orange”, “Burrata with broad beans, rocket & lemon zest”, “venison tartare with parmesan, capers, lemon & rocket” and “Olive stuffed with minced pork & veal”. All the food was absolutely amazing. Just like Paul had said (it is one his favourite dishes here), the olive stuffed with minced meat was very tasty. I loved the soft burrata and have never seen it being served with beans, mint and rocket, but though it went together very well. The Sicilian red prawns were just sensational, they were raw and felt extremely fresh as if I was eating them by the sea in Sicily, and I loved the orange and rosemary oil touch, it was very different to any other type of sauces you usually get with raw seafood (like ceviche type of marinade). It felt very fragrant and fresh and just tasty. The radish salad was lovely as well, the radish was thinly sliced and there was so much flavour in the salad you would never expect it from just reading the menu. Paul absolutely loved the venison tartare that had parmesan and capers mixed with the meat, and he especially loved the parmesan touch, and whilst I thought it was good, it was not the favourite tartare I have had. But overall I think the starters were amazing, very tasty, yet simple and at the same time with lovely creative twists. There was not anything that I could really criticize.

After the lighter dishes we were given the “Ricotta ravioli with broad bean puree & pecorino”, and the ravioli was gorgeous, soft and delicious and once again I would have never put a broad bean puree with a ravioli, but it worked extremely well. After the ravioli, we had the “Shaved raw artichokes & courgettes, anchovies & parmesan”, “Grilled langoustines with gremolata”, “Wild boar sausage” and “Caponata - aubergine, celery & tomato in agrodolce”. The langoustines were probably my least favourite dish out of all these, as the langoustines were quite small, there was not much I could eat there and it just overall felt like a less impressive dish as even the sauce did not stand out. But the remainder of the dishes were stunning. The raw artichoke and courgette salad was great, flavoursome and simple at the same time, the wild boar sausage, even though it does not look that delicious in the pictures, was very tasty, rich, and you could definitely feel it was made out of a boar. I also very much enjoyed the caponata, cooked vegetable salad and the Italian version of Ratatouille as Paul said, it was very flavoursome, it felt rich, tasty and there was an element of wonderful sweetness to it.

After the main course I chose a desert of “Blood orange granita with almonds & mint”, and I in general loved Bocca di Lupos desert menu as it was so skewed to various deserts with ice creams and sorbets, which is exactly what I like – a nice light desert. My granita was light and very tasty at the same time, and i loved that it was a desert you could eat for a very long time, properly savouring it. Paul ordered “Bonet - chocolate, coffee, amaretti, caramel & rum pudding”, and this was not a light desert but equally good, as it was extremely rich and chocolaty and if you like these sort of heavy chocolate based deserts, you would have really liked the Bonet.

Overall all the dishes were wonderful and extremely delicious at Bocca di Lupo. It remains one of my favourite Italian restaurants due to the breadth of the menu, the interesting combinations of dishes, the wonderful ingredients, there really is not that much you would not like about Bocca di Lupo.

Date: 23/05/2013
Price for 2 people with a few glasses of wine: £186.41
Location: Soho

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Bocca di Lupo
12 Archer Street, W1D 7BB
United Kingdom
Bocca di Lupo Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 4.5