Posted on Monday, 5th December 2011
I was lukewarm on Bocca di Lupo when I first ate at this glamorous looking Italian (to read about my previous visit click here). The food was good but it wasn’t as good as the hype. Despite this, the restaurant’s reputation remains strong, and the fact that it continues to be a destination spot for many Londoners and celebs such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz does not escape me.
So it was time for a revisit. The restaurant is far more gorgeous than I remembered from last time. The décor is stylish yet warm, and even though we were perched at the end of the bar, there was no escaping the fantastic chandelier than hangs over the main dining room.
We started with crescentine (fried flatbread from Bologna) with fennel salami and squacquerone cheese (small – £7) which was scrumptious. The crescentine was crispy on the outside and fluffy and light on the inside. The delicious texture of the bread worked well with the creaminess of the cheese and the meatiness of the thinly sliced salami.
A shaved radish and celeriac salad (small – £7) yielded bags of crunchy freshness. Pomegranates added a touch of fruity sweetness and shavings of percorino Romano provided bite.
Luganega deluxe (35cm – £8), a thin pork and foie gras sausage with nutmeg, cinnamon and clove was tasty, but a little salty.
Tagliata (£22.50), eye of the sirloin served with rosemary, balsamic vinegar, rocket and parmesan was surprisingly chewy. The meat was flavoursome, but I had expected better for this cut and at this price.
A red grouse (£28) roasted with guanciale (cheek bacon) and served with wet polenta was badly prepared. The skin was burnt and the meat was blue in the middle indicating that the cooking temperature was too hot. A hefty price to pay for something that was a bit of a mess.
Breads included focaccia and sourdough. The flavours and textures of the breads were good, but the focaccia crust lacked for a crispy crust, and the sourdough was also burnt on the bottom.
Cassata Siciliana, a ricotta, orange and chocolate layered sponge cake with marzipan (£7) was a firm sponge concoction with lovely contrasting flavours running through it. But as it had come straight from the fridge it was a little too cold to eat.
I guess I can understand why Bocca di Lupo is adored by so many. It’s really easy on the eye and the food can be decent. I thoroughly enjoyed the crescentine and the salad, but there were a number of items which could have, should have, been so much better. All it needed was a bit more attention to detail.
I couldn’t really see any noticeable improvements in the food since my last visit. Alas, I think I am still just lukewarm on Bocca di Lupo.
Food rating: 3/5
Service rating: 3/5
Price range: £35 – £45 per head. Excludes drinks and service.