Head to the Spuntino website and you will find out very little about this Soho establishment, except this little nugget of info: “28 stools and a popcorn machine”. If that’s enough to pique your interest, in addition to the riveting review you are about to read below (!), then you would be making the right decision if you cancelled your bank holiday plans for tomorrow and instead headed to Spuntino.
There’s no sign out front. Spuntino doesn’t take bookings, and doesn’t even have a telephone. From the street, it might look like a bit of a dive – so it’s just as well that I am tipping you off so that you will now cross the threshold to investigate!
Owned by the Polpo team, Spuntino is notoriously impossible to get a table at in the evenings; lunch is therefore a good tactic. There’s space for just 28 diners on backless stools around the U-shaped bar, but unfortunately Spuntino is just so damn cool, with such fabulous drinks, that people do have a tendency to linger on their highly-sought-after stools for longer than those in the queue would like.
Barbut and I did a Barry’s Bootcamp workout this morning then hit Spuntino for a late brunch (2pm: a good time to go – there was no problem getting a seat). Any fat-burning benefits of our workout were soon solidly cancelled out by the carb/cheese overload that occurred at the Spuntino bar however…
We entered the Brooklyn-esque space, and I immediately fell for the grungy interior. Low hanging industrial lights, cracked wall tiles, warehouse-style windows and shelves of home-brewed spirits tick all the hipster boxes. The guy and girl behind the bar were also absolutely lovely, chatting to us throughout our meal, giving recommendations and giving us tasters of new liquor flavours that they were in the process of making.
The menu is of sharing plates – New York style tapas, if you will. 2-3 per person is the recommended number. We chowed down on freshly-made popcorn with chilli salt as we browsed.
Eggplant chips with fennel yoghurt (£4): These were chunky and delicious; I think it was the yoghurt for dipping that really took them to the next level.
Pear, chicory, celery, pecan & Gorgonzola salad (£6): I really, really enjoyed this. It’s a combination of ingredients I would never have thought of myself, but was incredibly tasty – particularly the pears which were perfectly ripe and flavourful.
Truffled egg toast (£6): This dish is not photogenic – it looks about as terrible as the effect it is probably having on your arteries, however I would still 100% recommend you order it! A thick slab of white bread has a little pond cut out of the middle, and this is filled with an egg and truffle oil mix. This is then surrounded by strong cheese and baked, to create the kind of dish that could banish any hangover and ruin any diet for days! Delicious 🙂
Mac & cheese (£9): Obviously I had to try this dish – I’m kind of on a mission to find the best macaroni in London, and this one is certainly up there. Not runny but not stodgy, adequately cheesy, topped with a generous cloak of breadcrumbs, and baked in a cast iron skillet. It was an 8/10 for me.
The bar team talked me through their home-brewing, and I tasted the honey bourbon and smelled the horseradish vodka (used in Bloody Mary cocktails). The shelf of their various concoctions is pretty impressive:
Apple pie bourbon?! Wowzer, my tastebuds tingle at the thought!
[I am at risk of saying this too often, but] Spuntino is my new favourite in Soho. Obviously there’s the downside of not being able to book and the likelihood of having to wait in line, but the vibe, the friendly staff, the comfort food and the interior décor all won my heart. I can’t wait to get back – to try more bourbon cocktails, and maybe some of the desserts (I’m dreaming of the chocolate, pecan & bourbon cake…)
61 Rupert Street, Soho, W1D 7PW