We don’t care if you’re hungover, it’s too early, or it’s too far — Venetian-style bacaro restaurant, Polpo, is now providing the perfect excuse to order a pizzetta and a Bloody Mary before noon. Already a standout amongst Londoners, when we found out the eatery now opens for brunch, we made a beeline for its rustic Italian doors. Gaining popularity in swift motion thanks to its delicious range of small plates from the Veneto region, Polpo’s dishes are perfectly designed for casual dining and sharing amongst amici.
The restaurant’s charm lies in the fact that you feel genuinely like you’re in a quaint back-street wine bar in Venice, as opposed to some half-hearted UK franchise. Much like Italian hospitality, the service is friendly and relaxed — attentive, yet far from overbearing. And so as a result of this successful connection between tasty food and great vibes, we became long-term devotees, thus brunching at this humble bacaro was a certainty.
A bottle of prosecco was ordered immediately (half-price during brunch hours – but who needs an excuse really?), followed in rapid succession by food. We were famished upon arrival, and therefore thankful that the limited brunch menu meant any long-term deliberations were off the cards.
We committed to the brunch pizzetta with Italian salsiccia, wild mushroom, Parmesan & soft egg, as well as the wild garlic, mushrooms & ricotta on toasted sourdough – and our premonitions proved successful. No wonky representations or just-passable plates here. The pizzetta possessed a ballooning crust complete with those perfectly charred blisters, while each topping oozed flavour. The soft egg was indeed the icing on the cake — or should we say pie?
It’s no news that garlic and mushrooms have always been serious partners in crime, so we weren’t overly surprised that the ricotta and mushrooms on toast gave way to some serious thoughts of re-ordering.
We’ve already compiled a next-time-we’re-here list, however the ricotta doughnuts with cinnamon sugar couldn’t wait. Have we already said amazing? How about perfection? A snowball of fluffy gloriousness?
Brunch is the buzzword of London lately, and although Polpo are newcomers to the scene, they’re veterans of fine Italian cuisine and the brunch is no exception. Forget that Pret sandwich break between rack rummaging, or that creperie fix after a jaunt to Primark, everyone should be getting out of bed earlier on the weekends to try this refined yet substantial Northern Italian fare.
Brunch at Polpo is available on Saturday & Sundays only
Check individual locations for opening times: Soho, Covent Garden, Brighton, Chelsea, Notting Hill, Smithfield, Leeds, Polpo at Ape & Bird