Bocca di Lupo
I’ve been wanting to go to Bocca di Lupo for a long time now. It’s reputation as one of the best and most interesting Italian restaurants in London precedes it, and now that you can make reservations at the bar to dine you can even avoid queuing for ages for a table. I met my longtime dinner date, Emily, for a drink on the Dean St Townhouse terrace first.
The decor is modern and glassy – shiny surfaces all round – and we were greeted by an eccentric, delightful host who helpfully stowed our coats and shopping bags (Oxford St is too nearby to not indulge in a little shopping dalliance) so we weren’t laden down with bags at the bar. The stools are high, although I’m not sure they’re quite high enough for the bar… but then again I’m quite short!
The wine menu at Bocca di Lupo is the stuff of legends, and the choice is overwhelming. It won the Best Wine List at the Tatler Restaurant Awards 2013. We opted for some simple, crisp white wine, served chilled, of course.
The food menu is even more extensive and leaves you baffled as to what to choose. I love how the region of Italy is listed against each dish; if you were ever in doubt of the culinary richness of this country, you won’t be after seeing the wealth of choice and delicacies on offer. I felt like every dish I didn’t try was a loss! To start, we had the buffalo mozzarella bocconcini, which was deliciously creamy but light, so you didn’t feel too full.
For our pasta courses, we had the linguine with clams on the recommendation of our waiter, which did not disappoint, and another simple tomato and vegetable pasta dish. They were perfectly portioned so we weren’t too full – I hate it when you eat a dish of pasta and feel like your stomach might explode afterwards!
Finally, for our main we shared the guinea fowl in tomato panzanella, which came with a beautiful salad garnish, and we ordered borlotti beans as a side. As we cut into the bird, we thought it looked a bit pink, but I’ve often found game to be pinker than chicken, and it tasted ok so we weren’t worried. After we had eaten it all, though, the manager came over and told us it was undercooked! Great deal of good that was once we’d finished the dish… he offered us another (presumably well-cooked) portion, but we were so full that we couldn’t countenance anymore food. Not even a free dessert. When our bill came, we hadn’t been charged for the main, which was good of them. Luckily, neither myself nor Emily were unwell the next day, but perhaps we were just lucky!
I don’t want that part of the meal to overshadow the rest though – all the food was exquisite and I would definitely return, although perhaps will opt for the fish main next time.