da Polpo is like the old friend you can rock up to anytime and are guaranteed a great conversation. Like the other restaurants in Russell Norman’s stable, da Polpo is cosy, easy and approachable. I find nothing more uncomfortable than a restaurant on edge – week one, new staff, new menu, forgotten service sequences, the smell of paint, and table tops that shine a bit too much. What I love most about Polpo, Polpetto, Spuntino and now da Polpo is how they manage to look and feel lived in, even when brand new.
Most things about this place will remind you of Polpo. One has a Campari Bar, the other an Aperol one. Both bacaros use a lot of natural finishes, have distressed walls, tiled flooring and bar counters you can eat at – the single diner’s most favourite seat.
I even got lucky with my waitress; Tajsa (am near certain I’ve got this spelling wrong) wasted no time in settling me in and starting me off with a glass of the Polpo Prosecco (£5) – OMG so delicious – and some complimentary sesame cream cheese and bread. (I’m still not sold on the fashion of wine being served in non-wine glasses.)
The menu is also a lot like Polpo’s. I started with the arancini (£2.50) – the gooey cheese centre makes these crispy balls of rice divine, even if lacking a little something. Next was the asparagus, taleggio and parma ham pizzetta (£6.50). The cheese and ham may get too salty for some but I loved this baby pizza.
I finished with a fresh tomato salad (£5) and a glass of the Polpo Merlot (£2.75). Maybe the combination was wrong but I won’t rush to order this wine again.
I skipped dessert , promising the superb staff that I would return for some. Soon. Last week I wrote about Spuntino – THE ONE restaurant I knew I would have a long romance with. Today I walked into another ONE. Amongst too many other things, Bollywood is where I first learnt and loved the idea of THE ONE. (It was most likely Rishi Kapoor & Dimple Kapadia’s teenage romance Bobby.)
We’ve all grown up since then and while I may still look for the Bollywood moments in my life, I’ve changed what The One means to me – ever so slightly. I now have:
- The One who got away – and Thai Green Curry
- The One who was always going to hurt me – and Pytt I Panna
- The One I still think about – and Vegemite sandwiches
- The One I didn’t really care about – and strawberry cheesecake
And then there is THE 5months-14days-8hours- andafewminutes ONE.