I’m not that good with dates, so I have to be reminded of birthdays, anniversaries and the like. Luckily Lina is pretty good with those things and dually reminds me a week before that her birthday is coming up.
She gave me two weeks notice that it was our 10th anniversary coming up. She kept mentioning it more or less everyday so I wouldn’t forget. Good tactic that.
So where to go, to celebrate this grand occasion. Theo Randall maybe. The River Café was another possibility. Locando Locatelli, her favourite Italian in London. As this was a special occasion I even pitched in with Koffman’s and Bar Boulud, but as we are off to Paris at the end of this month, it seemed to leave those places for another time.
In keeping with the Italian theme she was keen on. I had eaten at Booca Di Lupo, and had had a good meal there, but wanted to try somewhere new. Polpo is still creating waves and I had read many a good blog on the place. So why not. It was sorted.
Polpo do not accept bookings for the evening, and I thought if we arrived around 7.30ish we would get a table quite easily. After all it was a cold wet windy Wednesday evening. Oh how wrong I was. The place was heaving to the point of bursting.
It took me 10 minutes to push myself through the crowd to get to the maître d’ (of sorts) and gave my name and was advised of up to an hour and a half wait. Jesus. Damn I’d never waited for a table for so long before. But as we had no other plans for tonight, and ahh we were inside, it was warm, and the wine list looked good. So we managed to find a precious space with enough room for us, 2 glasses and a bottle of wine. We spent the next hour or so chatting that actually when it came for us to be
offered a seat at the bar, we never noticed that it was nearing 9pm.
During this time we constantly heard people bitch about how long it was taking for them to get a table. Damn I wanted to tell them that no one is forcing them to hang around and wait to be seated. You can leave.
This is what I hate about London, no one has any patience any more.
After we were seated, it became apparent that I really need an eye test and new glasses. Looking at a brown menu in low light was a bit of a job. Sign of old age it seems.
The menu, which I think changes quite a bit, looked pretty good from what I could make out. We decided to order more or less everything in one hit, as we were pretty hungry. This actually turned out to be a good idea, but we still ordered a couple more things before they arrived.
The food I have to say was hit and miss. Some dishes were yum yum, and some were so so.
The arancini was pretty so so. The risotto balls were very under seasoned and had no real flavour at all. Nice texture though.
The chopped chicken liver crostini was unreal. Such great flavour and texture. For something so unassuming it packed the biggest punch of the night, but I am a sucka for offal in all its many forms.
The ham hock & parsley terrine, which had a lovely addition of a mustard eggy mayo was really delicious. A tad too salty but I am a forgiving soul in my old age. Plus I love terrines. So I will forgive them for making my favourite dish.
Before they arrived we ordered some more, as I was feeling quite hungry, the linguine vongole. The liquor had a lovely salty, clamy taste that I was spooning it in my mouth with relish.
The roast pumpkin, prosciutto and ricotta salata and the beetroot, rocket and walnut pesto were the last to arrive and were quickly dug into. These last two were ok but nothing special. They needed a bit more work on them to make them the finished article.
As you can see, we never really orderd that much, but we were very content with what we had eaten. We finished the night off sharing a tiramisu pot and couple of espressos.
We both had a great night, even with the wait, which actually never bothered us that much, even though it was nearly 90 minutes. And there was me bitching about the wait someone had for a burger the other day. But 3 hours was a tad too much.
I’d like to go back to Polpo, but catch them at lunchtime when we can be assured of a table.