I really wished I had eaten at Spuntino a lot earlier. Ie from day one. But I have this habit of letting a new restaurant flow for a couple of months before hitting its tables to sample the wares from the kitchen.
But as this group had two restaurants running at full flow very close by, it should have put my mind at rest, but it didn’t. I mean Marcus Waring’s new restaurant hasn’t received good reviews so far, and that is one place you’d expect to be at its best from day one.
The neo industrial look inside Spuntino adds to its charm, with its chipped exposed white tiles, it’s long dangly lights, the almost uncomfortable stools around the bar. The fact that the queue for seats is right behind you as you are eating, with the people in the queue staring into the back of your head willing you to eat faster and leave so they can sit down.
I like the place. I thought I had enough of small plates. This fad of sharing your food with your dining partners I thought I would not be able to do anymore.
But bang, wallop I am sucked in all over again. Damn if Spuntino didn’t knock me sideways with its coolness that made me want to love it, and hoping this food fashion doesn’t go out of style.
I didn’t even mind queuing up for 30 minutes or so, especially as we ordered a bottle of red and stood supping away jabbering on about love, life and general nonsense.
The menu in Spuntino is leaning rather heavily towards New York with plenty of sliders, mac n cheese and cheese grits on offer, that make you think you are dining somewhere on the East Side.
What to order. As we were pondering a cup of spiced popcorn was planted in front of us. I’m not a fan of popcorn, but the spiciness tantalised my taste buds, and kept my fingers delving into that cup for more.
I’d listened to a podcast recently where one of the presenters had a selection of sliders at his wedding. Nice idea and from what he said it all worked out well.
So we ordered a couple of sliders, the minced beef and bone marrow and the spiced mackerel.
Both were dainty as sliders should be. The mackerel I have to say was the least flavoursome of the two and overall over the night it was the dish we liked the least. The beef and marrow slider was truly how a burger should taste.
That marrowbone adds a divine taste to the burger that really surpasses all other burgers I’ve tasted in a long time. Shame these only come in little two bite portions. Well I am a greedy git.
The mac n cheese seemed to be very popular that night, as those black pans were being come thick and fast out of the kitchen.
The last time I had mac n cheese was in Cairo at my fave kushari joint. Every 5 or 6 times there I would venture off piste and have their version of mac n cheese. It was pretty naff as mac n cheese goes, put it was cheap, tasty and filling.
This version has to be the best I’ve ever tasted. The crispy topping had been under the grill for the most perfect of timings. It was so Moorish that even though my belly was fit to bursting I still couldn’t keep helping myself to the last scrapings out of the pan.
But the truffled egg on toast blew everything else out of the water. Damn it was good, and I mean so good that I really wanted to order another one. I love that heady scent of truffle oil, it instantly sends me back to the Italian countryside in autumn.
This is the work of a genius. I mean a slice of bread, hollow out a hole in the middle, pop in an egg yolk, add lots of cheese and a dash of truffle oil. In the oven and voila you have the dish of the year. A true work of gifted chef. Danm I’m envious.
This was one of the best eating experiences I’ve had in a long while, even though the quality of food I’ve been eating recently has been excellent, Spuntino somehow overall was far and away ahead of everyone else.
The only downside of the night was the fire alarm going off for at least 15 – 20 minutes, and we watched a guy pick bits of food out of his girlfriend’s teeth at the bar. Have people no shame.