A few months ago, someone told me that a Pork dish that they had eaten at Bocca Di Lupo was a contender for the best dish that they had ever had. I’m not sure then why it took me the best part of a year to book. Valentines day seemed to be the perfect excuse – my boyfriend and I don’t bother with cards and presents but agreed that a nice meal was the best option.
I booked a few weeks in advance and could still only get a table at 6pm but luckily it was at the chefs table, which I’d heard provided a better experience. My nerves about the restaurant being empty and lifeless were shattered as soon as we walked through the door. It was pleasantly busy and the chefs were hard at work behind the long sleek counter.
Bocca Di Lupo is a classy and upmarket Italian restaurant. Don’t expect to find pizza on the menu but instead fantastic pasta, meat and fish dishes.
Blood oranges are in season at the moment so there was a special menu insert with a range of blood orange dishes to choose from. Unfortunately my boyfriend seems to have a phobia of fruit (except, he proudly announces whenever the subject arises, for grapefruits, Pink Lady apples, lemons and limes). We always share our dishes at restaurants so that we can try as much food as possible so it was to be the regular menu for us.
The extremely polite and smilie waitress firstly brought a bowl of olives and a selection of fresh breads and olive oil to our table. The olives were bright green, creamy and utterly delicious. The onion focaccia was also a delight, oily with a fantastic caramelised onion taste. I was very impressed with being provided with delicious pre dinner snacks to whet the whistle.
A wine menu was produced but we had to decline as we rarely drink when we go out for dinner. I think we’re in the minority of people that don’t drink with dinner – after all, I do understand that wine matches food so well but even after a few sips I find that my head goes cloudy and I just don’t enjoy the food as much.
Bocca Di Lupo offers two size options with most of their dishes – small and large and the menu is also used to educate the diners by letting them know what region the dish originates from. We chose a range of small dishes with a couple of sides and a portion of the Fritti Romani.
Our dishes came in two parts. First to arrive in front of us was the Linguine Vongole. This is a dish that just that day I had been dreaming of – a simple classic of linguine with clams, red chilli, parsley, garlic and white wine. The linguine had the perfect crunch and there were a generous amount of clams, which took me by surprise. I didn’t think that we would get 8 clams in a small dish.
The nettle & borage pansotti with walnut sauce also arrived at the same time. The pasta was extremely fresh and the walnut sauce was a creamy nutty delight. There was also a welcome addition of chopped walnuts scattered on the top, which added to the texture.
We ordered one portion of the ‘Baccalà’ – home-salted pollack, which was actually rather large. The batter was light and fluffy and the fish very tender.
The plates were taken away and the next round of dishes arrived. We had ordered a side of roast potatoes with wild garlic. As they were the same price as the small dishes that we had just eaten, I kind of wished that we hadn’t ordered them. They were tasty but nothing special and they heavily contributed to our extreme fullness at the end of the meal.
We also ordered a side of cannellini beans, which arrived in a creamy tomato sauce. Delicious. I am a huge fan of beans in tomato sauce so this really hit the spot for me.
The last of the hot dishes was the skate wings with gremolata. They were really tender and delicious – I would have liked to have seen slightly more of the lemon zest, garlic and parsely marinade rather than a big wedge of rocket but overall this dish was great.
We had to order a pudding. It was either that or a quick nip into Gelupo (sister gelateria on the opposite side of the road) on the way home. In the end, the brioche sandwich of pistachio, chestnut & hazlenut gelati won out. It arrived and was in the form of a burger – a sweet, buttery, creamy, nutty burger. It was divine. I’m glad that I didn’t order a dessert to myself because one was more than enough for two to share.
Although I really enjoyed the food, I have to say that there is one restaurant in particular in Soho that I have visited on numerous occasions that do similar food, which is just as good (if not better… and cheaper). I won’t say which one because I don’t think it’s fair. My point is that I would dine at the other restaurant often but I would only dine at Bocca Di Lupo for a special occasion.
Bocca Di Lupo
12 Archer St
London W1D 7BB
020 7734 2223