Restaurateur Russell Norman really knows how to create a buzz, both in his no-reservations small-plate dining rooms (Polpo, Polpetto et al) and around town. Spuntino is the tattooed, Portland Oregon, rust-fronted, distressed-tiled cousin to his triptych of Venetian-inspired eateries. As is the way in Soho these days, you rock up, queue up, and chow down at the counter on a stool.
This is hangover food for foodies and hipsters alike: a mini croque monsieur comes in a shot glass, and instead of a coffee pot theres Campari and Prosecco. Truth be told, its more about the scene than the kitchen, which flirts with food porn: the mac & cheese isnt the souped-up gourmet truffled version that it might be, its a down-to-earth, rich, carb-overload. It also might be all you need if you go. We found the truffled egg toast which has sent food bloggers scrambling for their online thesauruses to heap more praise on it a bit of a letdown. Good egg, good truffle, but the sourdough toast couldve been just a bit heartier. The desserts are splendid a Wild Turkey bourbon brownie with ice cream was moist, dark and sexy. The peanut butter and jelly sandwich, parfait style, was sweet, salty and pretty much perfect.
But Spuntino is more about style and a new kind of Soho. Its a place to hang out for an hour, feel fabulously of the moment and line your stomach. It feels like an offshoot of one of the expertly art directed Ace hotels; the staff are suitably cool and chatty characters and the steam-punk pendant lights are enough to make you want to install the same at home. The fear with Spuntino is that it could be rolled out, along with the Polpos, as franchised-hip, a la Byron and Wahaca. We suspect it won't be. Russell Normans restaurants are far too carefully curated to be lost to the wilderness of Westfield.
The ELLEuk Score
Good for: Quick bite after work; pre-theatre; first date
Style of food: American Diner redux
Prices & Other Details at Spuntino
Address: 61 Rupert Street, London W1D 7PW, (no telephone)
Opening times: 11am-midnight, Mon-Sat; 12pm-11pm Sun
Average price per person for a two-course meal without wine: £18
Price of bottle of house wine: £19.50, Sauvignon Blanc Poeta 09 (white); Primitivo Fiore 09 (red).
Price of glass of house wine: £5.50, Polpo Pinot Bianco 09 (white); Polpo Merlot 07 (red).
Price of glass of house champagne: £9.50, Jacquesson Champagne Cuvee 734.
Price of bottle of house champagne: £57, as above.
Garden/al fresco dining? No
Private dining? No
Bar? No bar (counter dining for all diners).
Best tables? The furthest stools from the door, facing the street.
Who goes? Tattooed hipsters, Polpo-obsessives and people wholl queue for an hour after reading about it in the Evening Standard/Time Out.
Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus
Looking for somewhere a little more formal? See all our restaurant reviews.