Dinner at Polpo, Soho

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A few weeks ago my Uni friend Lena was in town and suggested meeting up on a Monday night. We hadn’t seen each other since we were actually at Uni in Lund in Sweden, several years ago, so it was lovely to see her again!

We met after work looked in some shops on Regent Street and Carnaby Street and as we walked past Polpo on Beak Street, we thought why not go there for dinner! It was a 45 minute wait for a table which we spend in the basement bar having a drink and catching up.

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We were starving when we sat down and followed the waiter’s suggestion of three dishes each. It was actually too much food for us, but we enjoyed sampling it all.

The first dish (top picture) was a wonderful bruschetta with mozzarella, nectarine and pea shoots. Also the pizza bianco with prosciutto, rocket and parmesan (above) was very good! 
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We wanted something green to balance all the heavy food and without a simple green leaf salad on the menu we settled for the fennel salad with almonds which was really fresh!

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The cuttlefish risotto with ink was absolutely fantastic. The terrible picture (it was dark and I used my iPhone) doesn’t do it justice at all. That and the bruschetta were the highlights of the evening!

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The meatballs made from pork and beef in tomato sauce were soft and full of flavour and a reoccurring dish on the menu.

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The lamb stew with tomato was also nice, but not as nice as the other dishes.

Polpo describes itself as a Venetian bàcaro; a simple restaurant serving rustic, well-cooked food. And that’s exactly what they do! And they do it very well. It’s cosy, a bit noisy and a nice atmosphere and there are plenty branches to choose from all around London.

Polpo Soho, 41 Beak Street, London W1F 9SB

Dinner at Great Queen Street

One great thing with having a blog is all the people you get in contact with. Sometimes you get freebies or invitations (yes, please!), sometimes a really nice comment, a recommendation for a restaurant or a very nice follower.

That’s the reason why I had dinner with one of my readers the other day. She is Swedish too, has lived in London for longer than I have and loves food. We have discussed restaurants in the comments’ section and on email for quite some time so it was about time to actually meet up!

The chosen venue was Great Queen Street, a restaurant both of us have been meaning to try for ages.

To be honest, I wasn’t bawled over when entering the restaurant, as the first thing I saw were the pine chairs and tables. Hello 80’s. But then you look around and notice the homely pictures and light fixtures on the walls, and as the restaurant fills up you decide you like it. Despite the pine.

The food here is simple and rustic, and although it is food I could easily cook at home, it still has that little extra you want in a restaurant experience. The seasoning is spot on, and although simply prepared the ingredients are of great quality and the pairings are great.

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Sandra’s first dish of smoked mackerel with soft rhubarb and strong horseradish is a great example of their cooking. It looks simple, almost plain, but the flavours are there and they stay with you.

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My first dish of snails, bacon and nettles was just right. Enough smokiness from the crispy bacon, soft melt-in-the-mouth snails and earthiness from the nettles. All the flavours came through and the crusty bread made a nice contrast.

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Both of us decided baked eggs with tomatoes and peppers were a good idea in the grey quite cool evening, and it really hit the spot. Although I have made a similar thing myself, you could just tell that the best ingredients were used in this, and a lot of time allowed to further sweeten the vegetables.

It is a busy place though, so we only had our table for an hour and a half, but we could move to the bar and finish our wine and conversation there, so we were very happy. And a plus to the very attentive yet super-friendly staff.

32 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AA Tel: 020 7242 0622