Lately I seem to be having a moment with restaurants serving shared plates. After all, you can order and taste many dishes, all in one sitting.
Polpo opened in 2009 and since has started a new sub-cuisine of Italian-style tapas. With all of Russell Norman’s success, Polpo grew and several more locations opened up in Covent Garden, Notting Hill and Farringdon along with both sister restaurants Polpetto and Mishkin’s – which I wasn’t a fan of.
Venturing on a Wednesday evening to the original Beak Street location in Soho, it was time to see what I’d been missing.
The menu had plenty to offer with options divided into sections. We struggled narrowing down our selection, but eventually settled on 5 dishes to share between two.
Intrigued by the name Do Mori, we decided to order the dish to see what would turn up. We received potato croquettes and skewered goats cheese and olives.
The potato croquettes were crispy with a fluffy centre and the olives and goats cheese satisfied my salty craving.
Grilled focaccia seemed like a safe option but we were delighted with our choice.
The focaccia was warm, grilled to perfection with rosemary running throughout. It never ceases to amaze me how simple dishes can be so satisfying, sometimes more so than their inventive counterparts.
To balance out the carbs we ordered a healthier option of courgette, parmesan and basil which tasted as strange as it sounded.
The plate disappointed and was essentially cold, wet courgette with an added sprinkling of parmesan which attempted to mask the horrible, inedible flavour.
Moving to a safer option we chose to taste the duck ragu with olives and gnocchi. The duck was succulent and moist and the gnocchi was moreish but unfortunately the dish didn’t wow.
Intrigued by what a smash entailed, we ordered the Piadina meatball smash. The meatballs were delicious, meaty and seasoned perfectly but in contrast, the tomato based sauce was plain and boring. The piadina itself, was crispy making it difficult to eat and share and defeated the purpose of the restaurant serving ‘small plates’.
Reading rave reviews about the wonderful dishes people have eaten and enjoyed at Polpo, left me curious as to what others had ordered. There wasn’t one dish that stood out or left me feeling like I needed to return and when a restaurant is overshadowed by its bread dish, it can’t be a good thing. We left Polpo feeling deflated, underwhelmed and questioned whether we had ordered the wrong dishes.
– Polpo, Soho